Network reveals ruse in reality series

For months, Lifetime has been developing the benign reality competish “Dance Nation;” but this weekend, the cabler revealed that it was all a ruse.

The femme-centric net had actually been keeping the wraps on “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” which pairs 10 young professional dancers with their dance-novice parents. Contestants who thought they’d signed up for a simple dance-off weren’t told until this weekend that they were actually in for something completely different.

“Beverly Hills, 90210″ alum Ian Ziering — who appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” — is set to host “Your Mama Don’t Dance.” Show bows Feb. 29 and will conclude with a live finale on April 18.

Lifetime Entertainment prexy Susanne Daniels said she wasn’t interested at first in another dance show, but she was drawn to “Your Mama Can’t Dance’s” twist.

“It’s a dance competition, but it’s really about the adult parent/child relationship, and how complex that is,” Daniels said. “It’s going to be an emotional show. I want people to cry.”

Daniels said she was also sold on the show’s multi-generational conceit, which should help Lifetime reach younger viewers while maintaining its core aud.

City Lights Television, headed by Dave Noll, came up with the concept and brought it to Lifetime. Daniels paired the company up with production vet Bob Bain, who figured out how to make the format work. Noll, Bain and Linda Lea are exec producers. Alan Carter (“Dance Wars”) is directing.

After the initial surprise — revealed to the dancers on Saturday at downtown’s Orpheum Theatre — show will now follow the young pros (five men and five women) as they teach their parents how to dance. They’ll then team up and compete on a weekly basis in front of a studio audience. One pair will be eliminated each week, with the ultimate mother/son or father/daughter team scoring an as-yet undetermined prize worth $100,000.

Bain and City Lights are still searching for the show’s three judges.According to Daniels, the cabler is still in talks with potential sponsorship partners, and will announce those deals in the coming weeks.

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