Dancing stars could end up out of pocket as well as out of breath
There are just under three months to go before the first episode of RTE's most eagerly-awaited show in years, Dancing with the Stars, and at last something concrete has been revealed.
It's not the names of the contestants. In time-honoured fashion, that's being kept under wraps by the producers. Nor is it the names of the presenters, though judging by those who've been screen-tested, it seems RTE has decided to match up a feisty 30-something female (Vogue Williams or Angela Scanlon et al) with a camp male presenter (Al Porter, Brian Dowling et al.)
What seems to be set in stone is the fee that participants will be paid, because it has been revealed that they will earn anything between €6,600 and €24,600, depending on how long they last in the show.
While this may seem like a lot of money, consider it in relation to a small piece of information that leaked out at the weekend regarding appearance fees on TV shows.
Participants in Dancing with the Stars will essentially have to make themselves available for 12 weeks as they don't know when they're going to be eliminated, so could potentially have to turn down lucrative work elsewhere.
TV3, on the other hand, which is not averse to moaning about RTE's ability to open up cheque books when it comes to attracting stars to its shows, was revealed to have paid Tony Blair's former communications director, Alastair Campbell, an astonishing €20,000 to appear on Eamon Dunphy's ill-fated chat show in 2003.
Dunphy, incidentally, is a 66-1 outsider to take part in Dancing with the Stars. Somehow, I don't think earning in three months what Campbell charged him for an evening is going to tickle his fancy.