Dance Moms pirouetted into the spotlight for its unique combination of adorably talented little girls (and once in awhile a tiny dude) under the tutelage of a legendarily nasty dance teacher. Throw in some uber-excitable stage moms, catchy music, and clever plot twists and turns created in the editing room, and you’ve got a reality TV show that’s been a hit season after season. But this season, a problem in the form of that dance teacher, Abby Lee Miller, has caused consternation among fans about the future of the show.
A legal mess and threats to quit made many worried that this would be the final season of Dance Moms. However, Abby Lee is not exiting the show despite her 20 counts of fraud, which threaten the possibility that Miller could spend five years in jail and have to shell out $5 million in fines, reported Deadline.
At this point, the Dance Moms queen is not working on defending herself against that indictment. Instead, perhaps on the theory that the third time’s the charm, Abby Lee is once again insisting that she requires additional time to analyze the charges compiled by the FBI against her. Consequently, a federal judge gave Miller her third extension to delay in providing a response to the charges.
Moved up from the February 1 deadline for filing pretrial motions, Abby Lee was given a new deadline of March 1.
“Additional time is needed for undersigned counsel to inspect and review the material located at the FBI’s Pittsburgh Office in order to perform a complete investigation of the facts and law before making informed decisions concerning the filing of pretrial motions,” explained the Dance Mom diva’s lawyers, Robert Ridge and Brandon Verdream.
Moreover, the attorneys representing Miller contend that they’ve had problems arranging a “mutually available time” to meet with the local FBI agents.
“Finding that sufficient cause exists for the requested extension to enable Defendant’s counsel to review discovery material and to make informed decisions concerning the filing of pretrial motions, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that said Motion is GRANTED,” concluded the judge.
Abby Lee entered a “not guilty” plea to 13 counts of false bankruptcy declarations, five counts of concealing assets, and two counts of bankruptcy fraud, according to Radar Online.
However, if she is determined to be guilty of those charges, Miller will have to use the money she saved from the show and teaching to pay $5 million in fines. And those earnings will be put on hold if she’s forced to spend the maximum possibility of five years in prison.
The legal mess stems from Abby Lee’s 2010 bankruptcy filing. Miller allegedly hid more than $755,000 resulting from Dance Moms. And the show didn’t try to hide her legal problems, with one episode showing a tearful Abby Lee whining about her charges on the phone.
Miller then wrote a letter to the mothers of the little stars of Dance Moms, informing them that she had decided to resign. The reality TV show currently has been taking place primarily in Los Angeles at her new Abby Lee Miller Dance Company Studio.
However, according to Radar, that letter was not true, because Abby Lee was working.
The most recent episode of Dance Moms left viewers uncertain about the whereabouts of Miller, reported Design & Trend.
Titled “Abby’s Replaceable,” the episode showed a different choreographer directing young dancers Kendall Vertes, Kalani Hilliker, Nia Frazier, Brynn Rumfallo, JoJo Siwa, and Mackenzie Ziegler. And the “Abby’s Replaceable” title proved valid, because the girls won first place for their team dance.
And even without Abby, there was plenty of drama on Dance Moms, pointed out Fashion & Style. The mini team mothers battled constantly, and Melissa Gisoni turned to Twitter to voice her views (she’s famed dancer Maddie Ziegler’s parent).
“So tired of mom negativity! What ever happened to supporting one another’s girls and team members!?!” slammed Melissa.
As to whether Miller would be back or would leave for good, Twitter followers debated the issue. However, Abby is expected to make an appearance subsequently this season.
The question that remains is just how much does Miller really make on Dance Moms, and was she hiding her income as alleged? Abby Lee raked in huge sums of money per episode, according to Radar Online.
“She agreed to receive significantly greater talent fees… as high as $15,000.00 per episode for the fourth term of Dance Moms,” say the court papers obtained by Radar.
With 33 episodes taking place during Season 4 and one special edition, Miller would have earned $510,000. Her subsequent contracts as revealed by the court documents show even more profit.
“By December 14, 2012 [between seasons 2 and 3], Miller had negotiated multiple Renewal Agreements with A&E for multiple episodes of Dance Moms and related spin-off TV shows to be produced by Collins Avenue through June, 2013, with talent fees as high as $25,000.00 per episode for spin-off TV shows,” allege the court papers.
[Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images]