Dancing with the Stars: Season 8 Premiere Soars to Record High
Kris De Leon
Kris De Leon
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
It was a successful Monday night for ABC as Dancing with the Stars kicked off its new season with a two-hour premiere. Last night marked the most-watched season premiere ever of the competitive reality series with 22.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen's preliminary data.

If you missed the premiere, you can check out our recap in this article, as well as the performance rankings.

Many were looking forward to season 8 ever since the network announced Dancing with the Stars' colorful mix of celebrity participants but the show made even more buzz as cast changes were made due to several injuries endured by country singer Jewel and Access Hollywood host Nancy O'Dell, who were respectively replaced by The Girls Next Door star Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft of The Bachelor fame.

So what caused the numbers?  Perhaps the recently dumped bachelorette Melissa brought the ratings momentum with her or viewers were just eager to see which dancing couple might have the competition in the bag.  At any rate, it's quite apparent that ABC lured in the most audiences in the show's final 30 minutes, just when Melissa made her dancing TV debut with partner Tony Dovolani.

Meanwhile, Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron shared his sentiments on the show's first episode.

"It was a great start, it really was," Bergeron said after the show. "What made it special was that no additional people got injured.  [Also] when you start a group of different personalities in an environment like this, it's always interesting to see how they mesh or don't."

"We had two wonderful replacements in Holly Madison and Melissa Rycroft.  Of course, [Rycroft] got ditched and jilted on The Bachelor a week ago but she came back in fine form," he added.

Catch the next episode of Dancing with the Stars on Monday, March 16 at 8pm on ABC.

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Radaronline.com, EW
(Image courtesy of ABC)