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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Looking Back on Season 1 of 'Dancing with the Stars'

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

On June 1, 2005, Dancing with the Stars premiered and the dance landscape was never the same. It's hard to believe that the show started as a six-week, one-hour summer series designed to fill the idle months until the big scripted shows premiered in the fall. Instead, it became a phenomenon.

More: What Could Season 29 of 'Dancing with the Stars' Look Like? Six pros signed on for the reality competition show not knowing what to expect from ABC. Louis Van Amstel, Edyta Sliwinska, Jonathan Roberts, Ashly DelGrosso Costa, Charlotte Jorgensen and Alec Mazo teamed up with Trista Sutter, Evander Holyfield, Rachel Hunter, Joey McIntryre, John O'Hurley and Kelly Monaco for an adventure of a lifetime.

Tom Bergeron hosted the show alongside Lisa Canning, who only stuck around for one season. Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman occupied the judges' seats while Harold Wheeler conducted the in-studio orchestra.

More: How Henry Byalikov Made the Transition From 'DWTS' to Broadway The premiere drew over 13 million viewers, which grew to 15 million viewers by the second week because the show became watercolor talk. It ended the summer as the No. 1 show of the season and easily picked up a second season order from the network.

General Hospital star Kelly Monaco won the Mirrorball Trophy with Alec Mazo, but the win was contested by fans of John O'Hurley, who cut an elegant figure out on the dance floor with partner Charlotte Jorgensen. The outcry was generated because viewers thought there was ABC favoritism at play. That controversy led to a dance-off in September 2005, where the winner was decided solely on viewer votes. The second time around, O'Hurley won "by 1 percent of the 'millions' of votes cast."

Monaco would return for the All-Stars edition of the show in Season 15, where she came in third place with pro Val Chmerkovskiy. Her dancing was even better the second time around.

The success of Season 1 allowed a second season to happen just months later. Season 2 of DWTS premiered on Jan. 5, 2006 with 10 couples, six new pros, a 90-minute Monday show and a one-hour Tuesday results show. With success firmly in hand, the TV legacy for Dancing with the Stars began.


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