Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
But at the panel (held on the SYTYCD stage at CBS Television City) he did offer a friendly dig at the dance competition’s network, Fox. Joining the other producers in talking about the longevity of the show, now in its 10th season, Lythgoe dryly lauded the dance show for “providing Fox with over half of its Emmy nominations this year.” (SYTYCD got 7, including a host nom for Cat Deeley).
Lythgoe was also asked to comment on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars‘ plan to reduce its competition shows from two nights to one. “I didn’t know of that,” he said but called it “a shame” that the actual dancing and the announcement of who’s getting axed will now necessarily be on the same program.
“I won’t lie to you. I hate doing the results,” Lythgoe said. He said fans didn’t like hearing the bad news before the dancing on SYTCD so they moved their own announcements to the end of the show. “It’s horrible,” Lythgoe said, adding of DWTS: “I don’t know why they’ve gone to once a week, but I think it’s a shame.”
Lythgoe was also blunt about what makes a winner on SYTCD: personality, not dance technique. “We are an entertainment show. Dance is a very niche market,” he said. “We need to bring as many people to the party as possible.”
He said celebrity guest judges are often chosen for their “large social following” rather than knowledge of dance. And as for winners, “51 percent is personality on this show,” he said, appearing on the panel with judge Mary Murphy, host Deeley, choreographers and dancers. “ Personality wins over technique. It’s just one of those things we have to deal with on our show.”