Are Audiences Getting Tired of the Ever-Changing Formula of Reality Dance Shows?

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It seems like long ago, but there once was a simpler time for fans of reality dance television. Strictly Come Dancing was, of course, where it all started. But the immense success of the program which began in 2004 has led to an oversaturation of the television dance market. Now, viewers have hundreds of dance shows to choose from when they need some light-hearted viewing. The question is, are audiences getting tired of this overly familiar model?

It is a well-known fact that National Grid personnel watch Strictly to know when the end credits start. This is so they are ready to cope with the electrical surge – otherwise known as TV pick-up – when everyone peals themselves off the sofa to boil the kettle. The show which was originally hosted by the late Sir Bruce Forsyth between 2004 and 2013 has won numerous prestigious awards including the Rose D’Or award for Best Variety Show. In addition to this, according to, it is the most-watched series in the UK – averaging just under 9.5 million viewers in 2018.

Strictly Rules the Roost

Strictly has stuck to its tried and tested formula, and this is what has made it so successful, with the brilliance and lack of ability in the equal abundance of the celebrities being part of the charm. Guests have ranged from politician Anne Widdecombe to Youtuber Joe Sugg. When programs try to break the mold and strike out at something different, they are often met with a lukewarm reception. For example, Pineapple Dance Studios was a documentary about the famous London spot. It came out in 2010, but only ran for fifteen episodes on Sky1 and wasn’t renewed.

Some other examples of truly terrible dance programs included the Strictly spin-off, Strictly Dance Fever, which only featured amateur dancers and ran for two series before being stricken from the airwaves. So You Think You Can Dance in 2010 was another major flop. The series was a hit in the USA, but when it crossed the pond it failed to live up to the magical and humorous nature of the classic British offerings.

Strictly’s viewing figures have dropped off slightly, with an average audience of 8.2 million viewers this year. But this is still an impressive figure for the BBC in the Netflix-dominated television era. It seems that audiences aren’t getting tired of Strictly, but other shows that fail to replicate it properly usually fall flat before they have even begun.