Bill Nye the Science Guy, whose fan-fave-dom is helping ABC resuscitate ratings on its Dancing with the Stars franchise, injured his knee when he tripped at the end of last night’s paso doble — a performance show judge Carrie Ann Inaba best described as a “weird bizarre masterpiece of insanity”. The network is waiting for MRI results to know if he will be able to continue with the competition. “We can confirm Bill Nye was injured during his performance last night and is currently seeking medical attention,” the network said in response to questions. “We will continue to keep you posted on his progress.” Losing Nye would be a blow to the show, as it soft-shoes its way back up in the ratings. His first dance on the show went viral on YouTube. This week, dressed as Beethoven, he paso doble’d to the composer’s Symphony No. 5, while members of MENSA in the audience shouted “Bill! Bill! Bill” (You had to be there.) So far this fall Dancing is averaging nearly 15 million viewers — up 12% compared to last fall — and a 2.7 rating in the demo, up 17%.
Injuries have sidelined competing celebrities in past seasons of Dancing— a torn Achilles tendon sidelined Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor in fall of ’08, and Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill stepped down early in the spring ’13 edition of the reality series, citing something having to do with her spine, possible “irreparable” nerve damage and something “radiating down my leg and my foot and I have no stability and in my ankles and I can’t pull my toes back.” Pretty scary stuff. Should Nye have to withdraw, ABC and the show’s producers will have to decide whether to skip an elimination to get the show back on track or to try to bring back the only person who has so far been eliminated this season — former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, who got done in by the samba.