THE WORLD'S GREATEST PRO FIGURE SKATERS COMPETE LIVE ON "THIN ICE," AIRING MARCH 19 AND 21 ON ABC
Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Kurt Browning Co-host;
Dick Button, Katarina Witt and Kristi Yamaguchi Are the Judges
Emmy Award-winning talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck ("The View") and Kurt Browning, four-time World Champion Canadian figure skater, co-host "Thin Ice," a new competition for the world's greatest pro figure skaters, live from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods (Connecticut), airing FRIDAY, MARCH 19 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) and SUNDAY, MARCH 21 (7:00-8:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The judges include ice skating legend Katarina Witt, two-time Olympic Champion and four-time World Champion; Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992 Olympic gold medalist and Season Six champ of "Dancing with the Stars"; and Dick Button, two-time Olympic gold medalist and the voice of figure skating on American television for 45 years.
The judging will be split between viewer votes via www.abc.com (50%) and a panel of judges (50%). Ten confirmed competitors will come from four skating disciplines � ladies, men, pairs and dance � and will be paired as five couples. No pairs or dance skaters will be coupled with their current partners. Skating programs will be limited to two minutes. The competitors are:
� Stephane Lambiel, Switzerland's World Champion, fresh from the Vancouver Olympics, where he came in 4th
� Jamie Sal� of Canada, 2001 World Champion, 2002 Olympic Champion as a pairs skater, and winner of the inaugural Battle of the Blades with partner Craig Simpson
� Patrice Lauzon, five-time Canadian National Champion and two-time World silver medalist as an ice dancer
� Shizuka Arakawa, Japan, 2006 Olympic Champion
� Shae-Lynn Bourne, Canada, 2003 World Champion ice dancer
� David Pelletier, Canada, 2001 World Champion, 2002 Olympic Champion as a pairs skater
� John Zimmerman, three-time U.S. National Champion and World bronze medalist as a pairs skater
� Michael Weiss, three-time U.S. National Champion and World bronze medalist
� Elena Berezhnaya, two-time World Champion and Olympic Co-Champion
� Marie-France Dubreuil of Canada, five-time Canadian National Ice Dancing Champion and two-time World silver medalist
The pairings will consist of:
� Shae-Lynn Bourne/John Zimmerman
� Marie-France Dubreuil/Michael Weiss
� Jamie Sal�/Patrice Lauzon
� Elena Berezhnaya/David Pelletier
� Shizuka Arakawa/Stephane Lambiel
"In the Olympic Games," said executive producer Terry O'Neil, "there are more than 300 pages of rules and regulations. In �Thin Ice,' the entire judging criteria are summarized in two words -- entertain us. And the viewer-vote is a wonderful interactive feature. After years of controversial scoring, we can finally say to the television viewer: This time you judge the skaters."
Competition will be staged in the Premier Ballroom of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. At 50,000 square feet of unobstructed space, it is the largest column-free ballroom in the northeast U.S. "It will be a remarkable setting," said Joseph C. Jimenez, senior vice president, Foxwoods Resort Casino. "We'll build an ice rink 85'x150' and still have room for 3,000 spectators. The room will have great ambience, and elegant chandeliers hang from a 26-foot ceiling. Spectator seating will be darkened to give the feel of a cabaret or nightclub."
Prize money for the event totals $220,000:
� 1st Place - $60,000 per couple
� 2nd Place - $50,000 per couple
� 3rd Place - $45,000 per couple
� 4th Place - $35,000 per couple
� 5th Place - $30,000 per couple
The executive producer of "Thin Ice" is Terry O'Neil. It is a production of O'Neil Entertainment. "Thin Ice" will air in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound. A TV parental guideline will be assigned closer to airdate.