Hamilton to host celeb 'Skating' show
Fox has recruited a slew of ice kings and queens to topline “Skating With Celebrities,” including Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton.
Hamilton is on board to host the six-week skein, in which professional skaters will be paired with celebs in a “Dancing With the Stars”-style competish.
Unlike ABC’s hit, Fox’s show will rely solely on judges — including Olympic star Dorothy Hamill — to determine weekly winners, rather than letting viewers have a say.
Among the skating pros who’ve agreed to be paired with celebs are Nancy Kerrigan, Tai Babilonia and Kurt Browning. Showbizzers signing on include Todd Bridges (“Diff’rent Strokes”), crooner Deborah Gibson, Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner and thesp Dave Coulier (“Full House”).
Pre-production and rehearsals have already begun for “Skating,” which will tape episodes in Los Angeles later this month for broadcast sometime this fall. Arthur Smith and Kent Weed are exec producing for A. Smith & Co.
“This cast gives us everything we wanted to achieve and were told we couldn’t do,” said Fox reality topper Mike Darnell, noting some skeptics predicted Fox wouldn’t be able to cast “Skating” because of the danger involved in the sport (Daily Variety, June 13).
Because of the difficulty of pro figure skating, Darnell and Smith said they had to turn away a number of celebs who wanted to do the show but simply weren’t up to snuff as skaters.
“Their partners are going to be Olympians. They have to be of a certain caliber,” Smith said.
Darnell noted some celebs were “so desperate, they were hanging on the walls (of the ice rink). It shocked me.”
“Skating” will feature an increasing level of difficulty, with more spins and turns added as the competish progresses. Judges will base their votes on both skill and artistic merit.
As for the actual matchups:
- Jenner will skate with Babilonia.
- Coulier will take to the ice with Kerrigan.
- Bridges is paired with Jenni Meno, a three-time U.S. pairs skating champ.
- Thesp Kristy Swanson (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) has been teamed with two-time Olympic pairs medalist Lloyd Eisler.
- Gibson will harmonize on ice with Browning.
- “Good Day L.A.” weathercaster Jillian Barberie is skating with three-time national pairs champ John Zimmerman.
Smith said landing Hamilton was key to lining up other skaters and talent. “As soon as we signed him, people knew we were serious,” he said.