The IMDbTV Blog

In case you haven’t noticed, the entertainment industry is rarely above engaging in petty behavior.  Quite the contrary. Without it, three-quarters of the internet would be a vast wasteland, Charlie Sheen would be unemployed and raving about tiger blood in a motel closet, and computer owners would be hurled back into an era where people got their online kicks from multi-user dungeons.

But while mud-slinging between celebrities is meat and potatoes for countless entertainment sites and Twitter, it’s a rarer thing for TV networks take any cheap shots at one another (that is, ones unrelated to ratings debacles and executive scandals) outside of courtrooms and press conferences and into the public. That’s precisely what happened today when CBS published a parody release about its intent to broadcast a fake show, “Dancing on the Stars,” on its official press site.

The faux announcement openly mocks ABC and its legal argument that its recently debuted series “The Glass House,” which looks a lot like CBS’s long-running summertime reality show “Big Brother” (returning on July 12)  is not the blatant rip-off that CBS alleges it is.

“CBS ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF ‘DANCING ON THE STARS,’ AN EXCITING AND COMPLETELY ORIGINAL REALITY PROGRAM THAT OWES ITS CONCEPT AND EXECUTION TO NOBODY AT ALL,” crows the release’s headline, to the delight of critics and reporters who immediately took to Twitter to point out its existence, adding in so many highly imaginative words, “Oh no they di-int!”

The release goes on to describe CBS’s  “dazzling new show” as follows :  “DANCING ON THE STARS will be broadcast live from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and will feature moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.”

“‘Given the current creative and legal environment in the reality programming business, we’re sure nobody will have any problem with this title or our upcoming half-hour comedy for primetime, POSTMODERN FAMILY,’” says a quote attributed to a CBS spokesperson.

Television networks have been cloning their rivals’ successful series  — not to mention their own hits (hello, “NCIS” and “CSI” franchises, this means you) — since the birth of the medium. However, CBS claims that their beef has legal merit because as part of  the production of “Glass House”, ABC is using proprietary information from “Big Brother,” ostensibly gleaned from the number of  “Glass House” employees that used to work on CBS’s show. CBS’s request for a restraining order against the program was denied by a U.S. District Judge last week, although as of this writing a ruling in the case has yet to be rendered.

Really, though, the average viewer is probably paying about as much attention to this legal battle as they are to “Glass House,” which attracted a piddly 4.2 million viewers for its Monday debut and reportedly lost 700,000 viewers between its first half hour and its second.

With each cycle of “Dancing with the Stars,” the loose usage of the term “stars” feels a bit more strained.

Mind you, everyone on the latest list of dancing celebrities is a pretty big deal to a certain crowd of people outside of their families. But while some names on the list — your Jack Wagners and Sherri Shepherds, your Melissa Gilberts and Jaleel Whites — are immediately recognizable, others? Less so.

We continue to accept the title “Dancing with the Stars” knowing full well that this will always be the case, because “Dancing with People From Shows We Watched Back in the Day and Other Folks I Know I’ve Seen Someplace” does not roll off the tongue quite so handily. And let’s face it, although there are much bigger stars who have proved that they can dance, we will never see A-listers like Tom Cruise or Brangelina on this program.

At any rate, ABC has released the latest roster of celebrities stepping up to compete for The World’s Ugliest Trophy. Their quest for the glitter ball commences with a two hour episode starting at 8pm on March 19. The first elimination episode airs on Tuesday, March 27. Here’s the full list, including the dance pros with whom they’ve been paired. To help you out, we’ve also included a sentence or two to help explain their “star” qualities.

Melissa Gilbert. Not much ‘splaining to do here to anyone who watched TV in the ’70s and ’80s. She is forever tattooed in the memory as the cute, buck-toothed Laura Ingalls Wilder from “Little House on the Prairie,” although later she busted out a bit as a guest star on “Nip/Tuck.” She’ll be skipping through the daisies partnered up with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Donald Driver. Super Bowl champion and the All-Time Leading Receiver in Green Bay Packers history. Author of Quickie Wins a Championship (according to an ABC press release; we could find no proof of its existence in a cursory Google search or on Partnered with Peta Murgatroyd.

Gavin DeGraw. If you’re a fan of “One Tree Hill,” you are familiar with his single “I Don’t Want To Be,” which is that show’s theme song. Apparently he will be continuing his U.S. tour while competing on the show. That’s ambitious. He’s paired with Karina Smirnoff who, according to reports, will likely tour with him so they can rehearse.

Katherine Jenkins. A Welsh mezzo soprano whose interpretations of pop songs, operatic arias and hymns have made her one of the most successful crossover artists in the world. Her partner: Mark Ballas.

Gladys Knight. Another star who likely needs very little if any introduction, the legendary soul singer will be paired with Tristan McManus.

Roshon Fegan. If you have a kid under 16, you probably know who this is. For those who don’t, Fegan co-starred in “Camp Rock” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam,” and is in the Disney Channel series “Shake It Up!” Which means he’s there to lower the average age of “Dancing’s” audience. His pro partner is Chelsie Hightower.

Maria Menounos. Actress,  TV host (she’s with “Extra” these days) and frequent red carpet fixture. Her partner is Derek Hough.

Martina Navratilova. Pro-tennis legend whose record includes 59 Grand Slam titles, 9 Wimbledon singles championships, and 344 tournament victories. She’ll be paired up with Tony Dovolani.

Sherri Shepherd. Best known as one of the co-hosts of “The View,” Shepherd is also a very funny stand-up comedienne. Val Chmerkovskiy is her partner.

Jack Wagner. Soap heartthrob who made the ladies swoon thanks to roles in such sudsers as “General Hospital,” “Melrose Place,” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” We are sincerely hoping that they make him dance to his ’80s hit single “All I Need.” His partner is Anna Trebunskaya.

William Levy. We have to admit, we had no idea who this guy was until we looked at his name page. Shame on us: apparently he’s a huge telenovela star. It should also help his case that, well, he’s pretty hot. He’ll be dancing with Cheryl Burke.

Last but not least: Jaleel White. Regardless of how many years have passed since “Family Matters” went off the air, regardless of the number of guest star appearances he’s made in respectable series or the fact that he’s about to host a game show on Syfy, White is still trying to escape the shadow of his most famous TV character: Steve Urkel.  Hopefully “Dancing” will help him in that regard. His partner is Kym Johnson.