Forget polished oak floors and mirror ball trophies. Think cold, hard ice and blades of glory. ABC is hoping that their latest reality show — Skating With the Stars (not to be confused with Fox's failed 2006 show Skating With Celebrities), premiering November 22 — will do for the toe loop what sister show Dancing With the Stars did for the tango.
The contestants are six stars who barely remember lacing up skates as kids: Mötley Crüe front man Vince Neil, actress Sean Young, Bravo reality star Bethenny Frankel, All My Children's Rebecca Budig, gold medal freestyle skier Jonny Moseley and Sonny With a Chance star Brandon Mychal Smith.
The criteria for making the cut: The stars had to be compelling, recognizable and "able to skate forward and backward," says senior producer Deena Katz, who also casts DWTS. "I couldn't have someone in their sixties or seventies, because it's very dangerous."
SWTS will follow the DWTS format, with three judges (expect to see Olympian Johnny Weir on the panel). But the pros won't be household names like former Dancing standouts Kristi Yamaguchi and Evan Lysacek. "What's difficult about having a big-name pro is that it takes the focus away from the celebrity," says Katz.
The celebs-turned-skaters have five weeks to practice before hitting the ice and trying to prove if they know their axels from their salchows. How are they doing? Katz winces. "They've got wounds all over already."