Colgate Skating Series to Air on ABC


Series brings back Family Skating Tribute, Shall We Dance on Ice, and Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular, as well as holiday special.

For a number of years, fall has brought to American skating fans not only the Grand Prix, but also Disson’s skating shows on NBC. These made for TV skating specials have lasted even as ratings for them and the sport alike went down. During last decade there were particularly weak, mostly featuring only older skaters and not being that interesting. After the 2010 Olympics, there was a influx of new skaters, as well as more original and entertaining show themes. Ironically, that was when NBC then declined to keep having them. They found a new sponsor and home on ABC, but there are less of them now. This year there are only four. Their names, air dates, and cast lists came out this week.

Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute

As usual, the series opens with the show featuring skaters performing with their children. The Family Skating Tribute will air on November 27. Like all the shows this year, it’ll start at 3 PM and run two hours. Although occasionally other skaters with children will venture in, this year the cast’s mostly staples. Most of them will do relatively boring numbers with their kids trying to keep up with them. But Paul Wylie and especially Kurt Browning’s numbers should be more entertaining. They often are. Also Sinead & John Kerr, who get to skate at this without having kids. They are, after all, family to each other. New this year are Jodeyne Higgins & Sean Rice, who are mostly known for being on Britain’s Dancing on Ice, partnering celebrities.

Holiday Movie Skating Spectacular: Where Did They Film That? The Holiday Music Journey

There’s always a holiday show, of course. This theme for  the one airing December 4, however, is a new one. It should bring us skating to a number of musical pieces not previously used, which makes it automatically an improvement on past holiday shows. Again, most of the cast are common Disson skaters, less famous names, or both. Nonetheless, it will be good to see Brian Boitano and Caryn Kadavy still on the ice, even at their advanced ages. They might not be capable of the tricks of their youngest cast mates, but Boitano, at least, should be all right so long as he can do his signature spread eagle.

Shall We Dance on Ice

This one, airing February 11, shall in all likelihood be the highlight of the series. With American ice dance having in recent years gotten better than it’s ever been, Shall We Dance on Ice, since it first debuted in 2010, has always showcased that. They have teams from other countries too, but usually they too are teams in their skating prime. Their takes on actual ballroom dance rhythms result in interesting numbers often making perfect use of more than one couple. Add that to four well known Dancing with the Stars pros, who will get the chance to show their stuff on stage, and there’ll be a lot to watch. Although since neither Meryl Davis nor Charlie White’s partners from the show are appearing, they may only be on ice this time. Though even then they may be the best part of the show.

Colgate Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular

Like the Family Skating Tribute, the closing show, airing February 18, is an acquired taste. For the former, you have to like sentiment, and for the latter, you have to like gymnastics. Otherwise you’re stuck waiting for half the numbers to be over. On the other hand, most sensible people would agree that Simone Biles, who leads the gymnastics cast, is always worth watching. Also, this one also has Davis & White in the cast, so that’s another pair of Olympic champions always worth watching. Alissa Czisny should be another highlight. It’s actually kind a disappointing she won’t be in the holiday show.

Next: Favorites Do Well at Skate Canada

Live musical accompaniment would be expected on the other three, but you kind of wish Shall We Dance would escape it. After all, live artists require the camera to go to them, often too often and/or for too long, instead of staying on the skaters where it belongs. This has been the biggest problem with Disson’s skating shows for their entire history, and is unlikely to change. Still, there remains far too little skating on American TV these days, so any change to watch it on that screen is worth it.