Dick Button, the man known as the “Voice” of figure skating, Johnny Weir, an Olympian who, at age 26, is the skating world’s most unpredictable star, and Laurieann Gibson, the creative visionary behind Lady GaGa’s choreography, will serve as the judges for ABC’s highly anticipated new series, “Skating with the Stars,” from BBC Worldwide Productions. Weir, Button and Gibson will make their debut as judges on the series’ premiere, Monday, November 22 (9:11-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
On “Skating with the Stars,” six famous faces — Bethenny Frankel, Brandon Mychal Smith, Jonny Moseley, Rebecca Budig, Sean Young and Vince Neil — will take to the ice with their world class skating partners for the first time in front of a live audience on premiere night, as couples perform high-paced ice dancing moves and dazzling figure skating routines. It’s fast and it’s graceful, with the added danger from traveling across the unforgiving ice on blades of steel. The couple with the lowest ranking following the judges’ scores and votes from the public will be sent home the following week.
Dick Button – A two-time Olympic champion and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, Dick Button is widely considered one of the premier male figure skaters and figure skating television commentators of all time. As a skater he dominated the sport like no other, in one seven-year period (1946-52) winning two Olympic gold medals (1948, 1952), five consecutive World Championships (1948-52), seven U.S. National titles and six North American titles. Button is the only skater to ever achieve what could be considered a “grand slam” of figure skating, having captured the United States, North American, European, World and Olympic championships all in the same year – 1948. He won the Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete for 1949. Long regarded as the “Voice” of figure skating, Button’s career as an expert figure skating analyst is equally remarkable and has earned him legendary status. He made his television debut during CBS’ coverage of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley. In 1962 he moved over to ABC Sports, where he served for more than 40 years as a figure skating analyst on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports”, ABC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, and as a commentator at numerous skating and other athletic events. Button’s work as a correspondent for NBC at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics continued an unbroken streak of 17 Olympic Winter Games during his long and illustrious career. In 1981 he became the first winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality – Analyst. As founder and president of Candid Productions, Inc., Button proved to be a television visionary, creating a number of highly successful television series, including “The Superstars,” “The Superteams” and “Battle of the Network Stars,” forerunners of today’s popular ‘reality show’ format. In addition, he created the World Professional Figure Skating Championships and the World Challenge of Champions. Button is a member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Olympic Hall of Fame.
Laurieann Gibson – Laurieann Gibson trained at the prestigious Alvin Ailey dance company and then segued from theater dance to hip hop as director of choreography for Motown and Bad Boy Records. In addition to working with such stars as Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Dixie Chicks, Clay Aiken, Brandy, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, The Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks and Mario, she choreographed the feature film “Alfie,” as well as the film “Honey,” in which she also appeared. She has worked alongside acclaimed directors Spike Lee with Beyonce for Pepsi and Matthew Rolston. In 2005 she began as on-air choreographer of MTV’s hit show, “Making the Band,” starring girl group Danity Kane. She and her signature moves were seen every week for three seasons. Gibson recently wrapped taping “Starmaker,” an MTV reality show co-produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs and Mark Burnett. She is also working with the legendary Broadway Dance Center of New York City and is headlining “The Pulse,” a multi-city dance tour/seminar. In addition, she is the new face of Capezio’s Frontline dance wear, the first hip hop dance collection every released by Capezio. She has choreographed tours for both Miley Cyrus and Jesse McCartney, and has already signed on for next season’s “Making the Band.” She was also heavily featured in Diddy’s “Making His Band” on MTV. This past summer Gibson appeared as a choreographer on the hit “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Johnny Weir — At the age of 26, Johnny Weir-a three-time U.S. champion, two-time Olympian, and World medalist-is one of the superstars of figure skating and an emerging pop-culture icon. Fans all over the world love his elegant yet edgy style both on and off the ice, and the delicious unpredictability of what he’ll say-or wear, or do-next. Born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Weir did not start skating until the relatively late age of 12, when he taught himself how to skate on frozen cornfields behind his home. Just four years later, he won the gold medal at the 2001 World Junior Championships. Remarkably, he claimed his first senior U.S. National championship in 2004, and successfully defended his title in 2005. In 2006, Weir captured his third consecutive National championship, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. At his very first Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, he placed an impressive second in the short program, and finished fifth overall. Weir evolved as a media darling during the games, and was described by many journalists as “the best quote at the Olympics.” He went on to win the bronze medal at the 2008 World Championships-the only medal won by a member of Team USA at that competition-as well as U.S. Figure Skating’s 2008 Readers’ Choice Award for Skater of the Year (Michelle Kwan Trophy). In 2010 Weir made the U.S. Olympic team for the second time and represented his country in the Olympic Games in Vancouver, once again capturing the hearts of millions. Post-Olympics, he has put his fame to good use, balancing performances in skating shows around the world with appearances at various benefits and charity events across the U.S.
“Skating with the Stars” is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Izzie Pick (“Dancing with the Stars” and the UK’s “Strictly Come Dancing”) and Phil Edgar Jones (“Big Brother” and “Celebrity Big Brother”) serve as executive producers. Paul Osborne (“I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of Here!” and “Secret Millionaire”) is co-executive producer. Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing with the Stars”) directs.