McPherson: He’s Dancing as Fast as He Can


Say what you will about ABC’s new slate of shows, but critics are unanimous about Entertainment President Steve McPherson: The man can dance!

Claiming that he’d lost a bet to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel about who would win ABC hit Dancing With the Stars, McPherson took the stage at ABC’s upfront last week and proceeded to dance a cha-cha—to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” no less—that caused jaws to hit the floor.

Except for a head butt to his partner near the end of the routine, McPherson’s performance would’ve made Dancing alum John O’Hurley proud.

Among the awestruck was McPherson’s boss, Disney-ABC Network chief Anne Sweeney, who marveled at the intricacy of his moves.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said at the afterparty.

McPherson says he practiced once or twice a week, upping the number to three a week as the performance got closer. “I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to work on it that much,” he says. “I could only do it at night, but I was working on it for the last eight weeks.”

Even with all the preparation, he says, “right before I went out there, I just thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’”

Apparently, others had the same question, asking McPherson why he made time for a dance routine but not for more analysis of the schedule in his presentation.

“C’mon, this is show business,” he responded. “Brandon Tartikoff used to make this a show and have fun with it, and that’s what we wanted to do. We just figured we’d have a little fun.”

And that’s why he’s entertainment chief and you’re not.