After suffering from lackluster ratings the past few seasons, “Dancing With the Stars” returns at 8 tonight with a new co-host and a new slate of celebrity “dancers.”
After the recent firing of co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, sportscaster, producer and actress Erin Andrews will co-host with Tom Bergeron. Andrews may not have won the competition like Burke-Charvet has, but at least she understands the training the celebs will undergo in their transformation to become the winner of the disco ball trophy.
The 18th season includes ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who won the first ice dancing gold medal for the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. They'll dance separately as Davis and White are paired with professional dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Sharna Burgess, respectively. With their disciplined training for the Olympics, they are probably in the best shape physically to win this season.
Snowboarder Amy Purdy is paired with Derek Hough, who has won the competition several times with his partners. Purdy has two prosthetic legs, but her athletic ability may get Houghanother win. The last time someone appeared on the show with a prosthetic leg was in 2007 when Heather Mills partnered with Jonathan Roberts.
This season includes more athletes who know all about endurance. Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad will partner with Henry Byalikov, while retired NHL hockey player Sean Avery is partnered with Karina Smirnoff.
Every season includes a geriatric celebrity, and actor Billy Dee Williams, 76, fills that bill this season. He'll partner with Emma Slater. Drew Carey will “come on down,” and partner with former winner Cheryl Burke. Reality star NeNe Leakes will partner with Tony Dovolani. She couldn't stick with “Celebrity Apprentice,” so anticipate a lot of drama between these two.
“Full House” star Candace Cameron Bure partners with Mark Ballas, while “The Wonder Years” star Danica McKellar partners with Chmerkovskiy's brother Valentin.
Ah, yes. Gotta get the young girls' hearts aflutter. Nickelodeon's “Big Time Rush” star James Maslow and Australian singer Cody Simpson are paired with Peta Murgatroyd and Witney Carson, respectively.
In case you're having difficulty remembering some of this season's stars, here is a short quiz about their careers.
1. Bure starred as Megan White on which medical drama?
2. McKellar appeared as Elsie Sniffin on which political TV series?
3. Williams was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for which TV film?
4. What year did Davis and White start skating together?
5. How did Purdy lose her legs?
6. What team was Avery playing for when he announced his retirement in 2012?
7. Maslow made his TV debut on which TV series?
8. Leakes appeared as Roz Washington on what TV series?
9. Which of Simpson's albums first debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200?
10. What was Carey's character's name on “The Good Life?”
Answers: 1. “St. Elsewhere.” 2 “The West Wing.” 3. “Brian's Song.” 4. 1997. 5. Neisseria meningitis. 6. New York Rangers. 7. “iCarly.” 8. “Glee.” 9. “Surfer's Paradise.” 10. Drew Clark.