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Reality TV Rant: Why Are They Trying to Make Abby Lee Look Bad?

abbyleeI’m pissed about the way Lifetime and Collins Avenue productions have been treating Abby Lee on “Dance Moms” lately.

I’ve been a fan for a long time – I DVR “Dance Moms” and watch it when my husband’s not around because he cannot stand to listen to the moms bitching and sniping at each other. But he likes Abby Lee (yeah, he’s suffered through a few).

But it’s like production and the network have lost sight of the whole purpose of the show – it’s supposed to be about the unbelievably ridiculous and sometimes terrible behavior of the dance students’ moms.

It’s assumed that Abby Lee is a tough coach – her teams wouldn’t consistently kick ass if she was a wimp. We saw how badly run studios could be when Abby Lee did a series about saving failing dance businesses. She’s been successful because she is tough and she really doesn’t care what the moms think. They’ve brought their daughters to her for a reason.

News reports that Abby hasn’t been getting along with her producers are true – she gave an interview to TMZ about it in April that was really telling. You’re not supposed to say that sort of stuff about your production company so things must be God-awful bad for her risk it all and throw it out there. She still has to work with them.

In recent weeks, I had to wonder if producers and editors haven’t been taking out the bitchfest on set by making Abby Lee look less than stellar when editing the show. They’re making a huge deal out of any event she skips and trying to make it look like she’s just wasting time and avoiding commitments.

Truth is, production knows exactly where Abby is and what she’s up to almost all the time. They know she’s in meetings (lots for the show) and that’s not an option when you run a business. She’s not just a reality star who has made them gazillions on the show, she’s a business woman trying to expand her company.

But instead of showing clips of her working with the contractors building out the new studio or in meetings with her finance or marketing people, every time the moms start ranting about her absence, they show something mean or irrelevant, like Abby hitting a drive-through and sticking a burger in her mouth.

When she lost her passport before the Australia trip, she really was in a panic. They showed her in the worst light they possibly could. And looking exhausted, strung out, and terrible.

Reality check – she probably is exhausted. And she’s probably sick of making the TV show even though she knows that’s what has catapulted her studio (and several of her students) to international fame. But she’s totally right in her rant to TMZ when she says that the drama will happen naturally, you don’t have to force things.

I had the same fight with my own production company for “Wedding Island” a couple of times. Trust me, shit hits the fan at weddings without any help. All you have to do is sit and wait for it. We couldn’t have planned to have to Medevac a mother of the bride off the island twice in one week!

I’m disappointed in the network and the production company for not showing more loyalty to Abby. And I’m pretty sure they’re poking the moms to be more irritated about Abby’s absences so that it stays a storyline. Are they trying to make the world think their own star has fallen? I don’t get it. The casualties of this war are the viewers.

Dedicated “Dance Moms” watchers aren’t tuning in for Maddie or to see the moms argue – any one of those sets of girls and moms could leave the show tomorrow and it would be just fine. Any one of the girls could leave Abby’s dance team and they’d continue to win competitions.

End of day, Abby Lee Miller has made a little dance company in Pittsburgh into an international sensation. True, the TV show introduced her to the world. But if she hadn’t been able to consistently deliver winner dance routines and produce fabulous dancers season after season, there wouldn’t be a show for Lifetime to air today.

Does anybody remember “The Restaurant?” Too bad Rocco DiSpirito didn’t have a little Abby Lee in him.

Sandy Malone is a reality TV star, expert wedding planner, and internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast's BRIDES and The Huffington Post, in addition to Monsters... read more
Sandy Malone


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