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‘Dirty’ finds new groove

Duo 'Dancing' with tube adaptation

Women’s network WE and Lionsgate Television are pairing up for some “Dirty Dancing.”

Cabler has greenlit eight episodes of “Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream,” a small-screen version of the 1987 Patrick Swayze-Jennifer Grey starrer with a reality TV twist.

Cris Judd, choreographer and former husband of Jennifer Lopez, will host the series, which will pair novice female dancers with experienced professionals. A group of 30 women will be narrowed to 18 finalists — three women for each man — who will train and compete for a featured role in the national cast of the upcoming “Dirty Dancing” musical.

The theatrical production, also based on the film, has already launched in several territories worldwide and will bow in London this October in preparation for a Stateside debut next year.

Skein premieres Dec. 6.

“Dirty Dancing: Living the Dream” will take much of its inspiration from the film: Contestants and instructors will be housed in a summer camp (in Simi Valley as opposed to the Catskills) and participate in activities and challenges (i.e., trust exercises) meant to stir up some romance between the men and women.

“We want to stay pretty true to the movie, so hopefully we’ll see some sparks fly between these girls and their instructors,” said Lionsgate TV chief Kevin Beggs. He noted that the show would lead into the film’s 20th anniversary, which will culminate with a theatrical re-release in early 2007.

WE general manager Kim Martin said repeats of “Dirty Dancing” continue to be among the network’s top ratings performers. Martin also is counting on the continued success of similar programming, including ABC’s surprise smash “Dancing With the Stars,” to help launch the “Dirty Dancing” series.

“The film has always done well for us, and of course women love it, so there’s already a built-in audience,” Martin said.

WE is currently in production on the series, which is being fast-tracked for a December premiere to take advantage as ABC’s “Dancing” draws to a close. “People have become fascinated with dancing again, which is great for us,” Martin said.

Project also reflects WE’s new focus on light entertainment, in keeping with the channel’s recently amended tagline: “We have more fun.”

“All the shows we do going forward will be in that vein,” she said.

WE this year also is set to roll out a new season of “Bridezillas” and frosh series “Hair Trauma.”

Don Weiner Prods. will produce “Dirty Dancing” in association with Lionsgate. Weiner will exec produce with co-exec producers Alan Winters and Jeffrey Kopp.

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