Erin Andrews, though by now a seasoned veteran of the TV broadcasting wars, admitted to a case of nerves before making her debut as the new co-host of ABC's long-running dance-contest game show Dancing With The Stars Monday night. ABC was placing considerable faith in the statuesque Andrews to provide a lift for the flagging franchise after the network sent former co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet packing after last season.
So far, however, the presence of football and baseball sideline reporter Andrews has not helped. The Monday night premiere of the Dancing With The Stars' 18th season registered soft numbers in the ratings, especially in the 18-49 year-old demographic that the network hired Erin Andrews to pull in.
Fired co-host Burke-Charvet is 42 years old. Erin Andrews is 35.
The show plunged by almost 20 percent in the age group most prized by advertisers, compared to its spring debut in 2013. Even with Erin Andrews at the helm — or perhaps because Erin Andrews was at the helm — the premiere earned just a 2.5 rating among 18-49 year old viewers, getting hammered by NBC's singing contest series The Voice, which scored a 4.0 in the key demo.
Dancing With The Stars featuring Erin Andrews still won the night overall, with 15 million viewers, 1.7 million more than The Voice.
The discrepancy would seem to indicate that Dancing With The Stars still appeals to an aging audience who enjoy watching mostly "B" and "C" level celebrities try their hand at dance moves that went out of style sometime in the Mad Men era.
Wonderful to be back in the @DancingABC ballroom...thanks for all the support...proud of all our dancers tonight..a great show!!Erin Andrews got generally good reviews from professional television critics, with People Magazine writer Tom Gliatto complimenting her overall solid presence.
— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) March 18, 2014
"She casually plants herself on the floor with a kind of no-nonsense strength. She is angular and even willowy, but her center of gravity appears to be unshakable,' wrote Gliatto.
But Erin Andrews herself, who had previously appeared on Dancing With The Stars as a contestant, admitted to a case of nerves before taking over the co-hosting duties.
"I'm nervous even when I do sports. When I get ready to do a football game, I'm quivering a little bit," Erin Andrews told People Magazine after Monday's broadcast. "My mouth got really dry, perspiration was a factor tonight. I've just got to learn to put the old shoulders back because it's a little different when you're in a dress versus in a blazer on the field."