The Buzz

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At last week's Television Critics Association tour, it was a well-established fact that ABC is hot, but who would have expected so much heat over "Dancing With the Stars"? The trash-talking was more akin to WWE's "Smackdown" than one would expect from a pleasant little reality show centered on ballroom dancing. Then again, soap-opera fans are involved and you know how they can be. The flap started when the clear judges' favorite, John O'Hurley, best known for playing J. Peterman on "Seinfeld," was beaten for the dancing crown by Kelly Monaco, star of ABC soap "General Hospital. " Turns out that the audience vote, which had a large contingent of "GH" fans, was the one that counted, and the judges' vote would have only influenced the outcome in the case of a tie, a fact that wasn't made very clear to the 22 million viewers who tuned in for the finale. ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson found himself fending off hostile questions from TV critics last week as to whether or not the contest was rigged to help promote an ABC soap. Finally, to appease the ugly crowd, he said they were considering a dance off in January where O'Hurley and Monaco could have a rematch. "Bring it on," says Monaco. "You want a dance off? I'll give you a dance off."
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