The Profound Show Biz Lessons of 'Dancing on the Stars'

Every successful pop song sounds like another successful pop song. The top 39 movie openings in history are all sequels, reboots, and adaptations. Number 40, Avatar, is technically original, but it's also technically Pocahontas in 3-D outer-space. "Nobody knows anything" is the most famous quote in entertainment, but in fact, producers do know one little thing: If it worked before, it will probably work again.

Operating snugly under the it-will-probably-work-again principle, ABC recently unveiled its new reality show "Glass House." If you've seen "Big Brother" on CBS, you'll recognize "Glass House" on account of the fact that it's the same show, basically. CBS unsuccessfully attempted to sue ABC, and "Glass House" debuted before a healthy audience of 4 million people, because, well, if it worked before, it will probably work again.

But the capstone of the story -- and the piece of news that drew my attention to it -- is this rather brilliant, snarky faux-response from CBS unveiling its own plans to launch two new shows "Dancing on the Stars" and "Postmodern Family." Enjoy.

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

Los Angeles, June 21, 2012 - Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, ground-breaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network.

The dazzling new show, 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.

"This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that's totally unlike anything anywhere else, honest," said a CBS spokesperson, who also revealed that the Company has been working with a secret team for several months on the creation of the series, which was completely developed by the people at CBS independent of any other programming on the air. "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."

"After all," the spokesperson added, "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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