"Dancing With the Stars" ended a month ago, but it's still a hot topic of discussion for fans. We've also received numerous questions about "The Law Firm" and Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days," which we answer here.
Q: I thought I read somewhere that in case of a tie in “Dancing with the Stars”, the winner would be the winner of the audience vote. If this is so, wouldn’t Kelly Monaco have won anyway, because in the finals you would have to win both sides to win (5 pts. judges/5 pts. audience, vs. 5 pts judges/4 pts audience — where the other team would win because it would be 4 pts judges/5 pts. audience — they won the audience vote). I believe John O’Hurley should have won but using this logic - it just didn’t matter where the judges placed him. Am I right or just rambling.? —Nancy, Puerto Rico
A: If there was anything more confusing this summer than the alliances inside the “Big Brother” house, it was the voting structure on “Dancing with the Stars.” The complicated rules involved separately ranking viewer votes and judge votes, and then adding them together. More bewildering was the fact that viewer votes came from the previous episode’s dancing while judges’ votes came from the current episode, which only made things worse.
The confusion also led to a number of conspiracy theories about why Kelly Monaco won. Because of strong viewer voting for Kelly and her dance partner, it was impossible for her to lose even with low judge scores, so the final performances really meant nothing.
In any case, ABC is addressing the controversy, and/or trying to get a few more hours out of the summer series, by holding a dance-off. John O’Hurley and Kelly Monaco will once again compete, and this time, the judges will have absolutely no say in who wins. They’ll provide their opinions, but only our votes will count.
The dance-off airs on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 8:30 p.m., with a half-hour results show to follow two days later, on Thursday, at 9 p.m. ET. —A.D.
Q: What happened to ‘The Law Firm’? —R, Philadelphia
A: Über-producer David E. Kelley’s first reality series pitted real lawyers against one another as part of real cases. Think “Judge Judy” meets “The Apprentice,” but with a host (attorney Roy Black) who had less charisma than Trump, and with a lot more fast zooms into windows.
Viewers weren’t drawn to the show, and after two episodes, it was cancelled on NBC. The show’s second episode lost a quarter of the premiere’s viewers. However, the network is moving the series and its remaining episodes to NBC’s sibling cable network, Bravo.
At first, Bravo didn't give the show its own timeslot. Instead, random episodes aired at really random times. Now, however, the show has a .
Next Tuesday, August 30, the first two episodes will air at 8 p.m. ET. The six remaining, unaired episodes will air at 8 p.m. every Tuesday from then on, starting the following week, on Sept. 6. —A.D.
Q: What about"30 Days" — Fx’s new show with the guy from "Super Size Me." I’ve found it interesting, informative, entertaining and wryly funny. It would be interesting to hear your take on it. Although maybe it’s too classy to be a “reality show.” —Ann, Ohio
Andy says: This is a good question, because for some reason (well, a lot of reasons), reality TV shows have become synonymous with crap TV. And that’s unfair. While there are plenty of trashy reality shows, there are also plenty of trashy and crappy dramas and sitcoms. Networks certainly churn out a lot of awful reality shows, but over the past five years, there have also been some shows that rise above the flotsam.
Besides network shows that have pretty consistently delivered quality television, such as CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” there are others that stand out. PBS and Channel 4’s “House” series, where a group of people live as if it were another time period, is dramatic and educational all at once. HBO and, later, Bravo’s “Project Greenlight” took us behind the scenes in Hollywood and showed us professionals dedicated to their craft. And UPN’s “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic” showed us how hard life really is for a pop star. Okay, I’m kidding about that last one.
“30 Days” is definitely one of the better reality shows in recent memory. I thought the show was strongest in its first episode, when its creator Morgan Spurlock starred along with his fiancee. He’s more charismatic and interesting than the people who were cast for the other five episodes. Still, their 30-day explorations of new lives made for some good TV that challenged both the participants’ and our prejudices and preconceived notions.
Gael says: I'm a huge fan of Morgan Spurlock and "Super Size Me," and I watched about half of the "30 Days" episodes. I agree with Andy: my favorite episode of the ones I saw was the one where Morgan himself and fiancée, vegan chef Alex, struggled to live on minimum wage for a month. The others I saw were interesting, but felt a little preachy. And that's the path this show can't go down if it wants to keep and enlarge its audience. There are plenty of people who are going to have prejudices against the show going in, and are looking for any reason to criticize it or turn it off.
It's not that I don't think it's worthwhile for a Christian to live with a Muslim family for a month to learn about their faith, it's just that the guy who did that was a little somber and dull, while Morgan himself has a really engaging TV personality. He never whines, never preaches, just kind of lives. How he kept a smile on his face when getting up at the crack of dawn to work two jobs is beyond me. I wished he and Alex had done more of the episodes themselves, though obviously they take a month to live out, and he can't do them all. (I heard that either he or Alex really wanted to try the "living off the grid" episode but they just couldn't swing the time.)
Good news: FX has renewed the show for a second season, saying the show has been the network's highest-rated unscripted series to date. No date yet for a second season.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.