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Scott D. Pierce: Let's just get rid of all reality results shows

Published May 17, 2012 12:58 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Is there anything more boring than a reality results television show?

You sit there for 55 minutes waiting to find out who has been eliminated. Often 55 excruciatingly boring minutes.

"It takes 1.2 seconds to tell someone they're going home," said Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance." "And we stretch that to an hour."

It's not just those two shows, it's everything from "Dancing With the Stars" to "The Voice." And it's not just an hour; season finales are often stretched to two hours. Snore.

You'll see a marked change when "So You Think You Can Dance" returns for its ninth season on Thursday, May 24 (7 p.m., Fox/Channel 13). Unlike past seasons, the show will air just once a week.

That means a few changes. "I think it's going to be more exciting," said producer Jeff Thacker. "Sometimes, within our results show, we were accused of padding them out."

Well, just because you actually were padding them out.

"To be honest," said host Cat Deeley, "the results show was an hour, which is a long time to string it out."

Nothing much will change for the first few episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance." It will be the same audition process — although there will be an audience in the house for the first time.

"I love it," said judge Mary Murphy. "It keeps the energy up. Especially toward the end of the day."

The big changes will come after the finalists are selected and the viewers start voting for their favorite dancers.

Lythgoe outlined it like this: As always, viewers will vote for their favorite dancers after an episode airs. The dancers with the fewest votes will be in danger of being eliminated.

That will be revealed early in the following week's episode. As those dancers perform, they will know they're in danger of going home.

The judges will continue eliminating contestants at the end of each episode.

None of this was Lythgoe's idea. When Fox renewed the show, it was for just one episode a week this summer. But he is making the best of the situation.

"What it does is focus us all on what we're going to be doing on that show," he said. "No padding in it."

At the same time, "I don't want to lose the group routines. I don't want to lose showing some incredible companies or soloists or anything. So somehow, I'm going to have to try to fit everything and the results in," he said with a laugh.

One episode a week does sound far more viewer friendly. Much less annoying.

If only we could get "American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars" and all the other shows to join in and make this a trend.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.