Whether they're tuning in for the dance prodigies, the epic 'mom fights' or seeing feisty dance coach Abby Lee Miller lay down the law, people have become positively addicted to "Dance Moms."
The reality show about overzealous stage parents and their talented offspring is back for a third season, which premieres New Year's Day. "What a way to kick off the year, watching a bunch of moms fight with their dance teacher," says Miller. "It doesn't get any better than that!"
HuffPost TV Canada chatted with Miller to get her thoughts on everything from career-wrecking 'momagers' to what makes her want to "slit her wrists" to why she doesn't think you're ever too young to be on TV.
Why do you think people are so fascinated by "Dance Moms"?
I have no idea! I hope and pray it's the dancing. I hope it's not the moms fighting.
What do you think the secret to your own success as a dance coach has been?
Oh God, I don't know! [Laughs] I've been doing this for quite some time. I had a successful run before the television show. I have kids working on Broadway, I have kids in Tokyo, Vegas, LA, all successful, all working, all living a very nice lifestyle.
That's interesting. Some people may say dance is a fun hobby but it's not really a career...
Oh God, no, no, no. This is a career. There's a difference between just creating amazing dancers versus employable working dancers. There is a difference.
What are some of the biggest differences?
Well, it's a business. You have to be punctual. You have to have a great work ethic. You have to get along well with others. You have to remember and retain and comprehend the choreography quickly. You have to treat it like it's a job. It's not an after-school activity anymore.
It's interesting you mention that they need to be able to get along with others because we don't always see the moms getting along.
Nope! But the kids do.
Is that pretty typical of dance moms in general?
Well there's a lot of jealousy. I think any activity you have your kids in, you're all trying to live vicariously through them. And you're jealous of the kid that's naturally more talented or has the facility, the body, the genes or the God-given talent. People get jealous of that. And when you get jealousy, just think of it as a disease. They act out and they can't control themselves. I'm kind of the plot master, the puppeteer. I'm the one controlling things, making things happen and they don't like it. They want to be that person. Everybody wants to be me, what can I say? [Laughs]
What's the most ridiculous outburst you've ever seen from a mom throughout your career?
Oh my goodness, there's so many! I just think being jealous of the relationship between their daughter and I. Or moms thinking they can choreograph, 'momeographers.' Moms thinking they can manage their kids' careers. Mary Kate and Ashley [Olsen] have had the same manager since they were infants, and look, they're billionaires. And then you look at the other people whose mothers have taken over their careers and they remain nameless.
On the show, the moms are quite involved. Why do you allow them to be so involved? Do you ever want to tell them to go away?
Absolutely! But the TV show is called "Dance Moms." It was supposed to be about the moms, that was the format of the show. The kids were very minimal, and I was just an on-stage choreographer, I wasn't even on the show. So people ask if the show's scripted and if it's it real. Absolutely it's real. The only huge difference in my life is I don't travel with any moms. I've never brought moms along on any trip we've ever gone on. But because of the television show, it's part of the show. By all means, I tell them to stay out!
Do you think you would still be a dance coach today if you had to travel with moms all the time?
No! I would have slit my wrists years ago.
What's your biggest pet peeve about overzealous dance moms?
Usually the ones with the biggest mouths and the strongest opinions are the worst-paying customers.
Why do you think that is?
Who knows? They can barely pay their bills and they're in there telling me how to do my job.
Even now that you've seen it all, do the outbursts by the moms ever get to you?
They always get to me! Of course. They get to me because they don't know what they're talking about! Some of them can count on one hand how many Broadway shows they've seen. Talk to me, talk to a kid who went to New York how many times and saw a show Friday night, Saturday matinee, Saturday night, Sunday and then went home. I have other kids in my studio that are avid theatergoers, and families that spend $5,000 in a weekend seeing shows. And then you have the moms on the show who are drinking their wine out of a cardboard box and they have never seen a show.
I love that the group has this nemesis of sorts in the form of Cathy. What's the funniest thing Cathy has ever done?
Yeah, she's goofy. I don't think she's really funny. I'm kind of angry with the whole thing because she gets to create her own team. I didn't pick the kids on the show. They've all been in my studio since they were two and a half or three years old. That's non-disputable. But maybe they wouldn't have been the kids that I chose. Maybe I would have switched it up a bit. Who knows? I think the kids are great, and they've been doing a wonderful job and they all get along well, but I also have 13, 14, 17-year-olds that are amazing and should be dancing on national television every week.
How has your life changed since you've become a TV star?
It takes me about two hours to run into Target. People always want a picture. They hem and haw and they can't spit the words out so they waste about five minutes of my time just standing there getting ready for a picture. Just do it! But stalking me all over the mall, that's weird.
We're seeing a lot more shows these days with younger stars. What do you think is too young to be on TV?
Oh man, I don't think you're ever too young. If I could have worked from the time I was born until I was 18 and never had to work again, I would have done it.
Season 3 of "Dance Moms" premieres on Lifetime and Lifetime Canada on Tuesday, January 1st at 9 p.m. EST/PST.
"The Biggest Loser"
Returns Sunday, January 6 at 9 p.m. EST and moves to regular timeslot on Monday, January 7 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Jillian Michaels! She's back to help whip contestants into shape. Plus, for the first time, kids (ages 13-16) will be on the show along with 15 adult contestants.
Returns Sunday, January 6 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Bates was left to rot in jail, Matthew and Mary finally got together and the Dowager Countess was sassy. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Americans! Shirley MacLaine guest stars as Martha, Cora's mother. She's very rich. Season 3 has already aired in the UK and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/26/downton-abbey-season-4-dan-stevens_n_2364574.html">one prominent character is saying goodbye to "Downton Abbey."</a>
Returns Monday, January 7 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Sean Lowe <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Jilted "Bachelorette" contestant Sean returns to TV as "The Bachelor" and seeks to find love.
Monday, January 7 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring</strong>: Meagan Good, Laz Alonso, Tate Donovan and Victor Garber <strong>What's It About</strong>: A wealthy socialite and party girl is found dead of an overdose, but something's fishy about her death. Enter FBI Agent Will Moreno (Alonso), who recruits his former partner Joanna Padget (Good), the deceased's former best friend. Joanna hides her true occupation and infiltrates the family she grew up around to find the truth about her friend's death.
"Betty White's Off Their Rockers"
Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Betty White will entertain a ton of guest stars while introducing the elderly pranksters. Kim Kardashian, the ladies of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Ed Asner and NeNe Leakes are among the names who will appear on the prank show.
"Pretty Little Liars"
Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Toby is on the A Team, Garrett's dead, Aria's dad has some strange connection to Ali, Paige saved the day and Ezra's a dad ... and Alex Mack is his baby mama. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Mona is released from Radley and is back at Rosewood High. Clearly, she'll be working with Toby, who the liars are still in the dark about. It's only a matter of time before Spencer learns the truth ... and starts to lose it. Dr. Sullivan will return, hopefully to prevent any breakdowns. Plus, we'll see more about what the hell Byron was doing with Ali the night she died.
Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. EST on TBS. <strong>Where We Left Off: </strong>Jules and Grayson had a quickie beachfront wedding and rode off into the distance on horseback. <strong>What's Ahead: </strong>For starters, it's on TBS! Everybody's favorite wine-guzzlin' crew will be joined by guest stars Alexndra Wentworth, Shirley Jones, Gillian Vigman, Tippi Herden and more.
Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: In Season 3, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) prevented carpetbagger/gangster Robert Quarles from establishing a criminal network in Harlan, but a pregnant Winona left the US Marshal and he found out his father shot a good man. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) will no doubt continue to be a thorn in Raylan's side.
"Stars In Danger: The High Dive"
Wednesday January, 9 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>Starring</strong>: JWoww, Bethany Hamilton, Alexandra Paul, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, David Chokachi, Terrell Owens, Antonio Sabato Jr. <strong>What's It About:</strong> C-list celebrities learn to dive like the pros with the help of Olympian Troy Dumais.
Thursday, January 10 at 9:30 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring</strong>: Josh Gad, Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman <strong>What's It About</strong>: The Gilchrists are your typical American family ... they just so happen to be the first family of the United States. Gad stars as the hapless son of President Dale Gilchrist (Pullman) and stepson of Emily (Elfman).
Returns Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. EST on HBO. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Jessa bizarrely got married, Shoshanna slept with Ray, Hannah and Adam broke up and Marnie still misses Charlie. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: After months of criticism, Hannah makes a black friend (or more than a friend) -- and it's Donald Glover. Patrick Wilson will also play a love interest for Hannah later in the season and Shiri Appleby joins Season 2 as Adam's new girlfriend, much to Hannah's dismay. Elijah moves in with Hannah -- and starts to question his sexuality. Shoshanna is dealing with her post-sex relationship with Ray. Plus, Rita Wilson will stop by to play Marnie's mom and to help her shape up.
Returns Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Karen had her and Lip's baby and fled, prompting Lip to move back home and go back to school. Estefania and Marco were on the verge of breaking up and in happier news, Fiona passed her GED. ("Teen Mom's" Amber: Take note.) <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: It's 137 days since we’ve last seen the Gallagher's. Jimmy has moved into the house with them and Fiona uses the family's money in desperation and the others aren't too pleased. Oh and (shocker) Frank's missing.
Returns Sunday, January 13 at 9:30 p.m. EST <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Following her very public breakdown, Amy (Laura Dern) returned to work with a positive outlook ... only to start down the path of revenge after being laughed at by her coworkers. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Will Amy return to the path of enlightenment?
"House of Lies"
Returns Sunday, January 13 at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Did they or didn't they? Marty (Don Cheadle) and Jeannie (Kristen Bell) ended the season with a romp in the sheets ... maybe. They've gotten rid of the Rainmaker and stand triumphant. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Galweather Stearn brings in a new CEO who's all about female power. Adam Brody returns to TV with a guest role.
Returns Sunday, January 13 at 10:30 p.m. EST on Showtime. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: After Bates left Karen, Hank sees an opportunity. But when his ex Carrie returns and offers him an anti-depressant-laced drink, Hank loses consciousness just after seeing a vision of Karen, to whom he says, "I love you." <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Hank is penning a rock opera "about love conquering all" with Atticus Fetch (Tim Minchin), a coked up rock star. Maggie Grace has a nine-episode arc as infamous rock groupie Faith, who becomes involved with Hank, and in one episode, Grace's former "Lost" co-star Jorge Garcia will appear as an old contact from Faith's past. Season 6 will also see a guest appearance from Marilyn Manson.
"The Carrie Diaries"
Monday, January 14 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW <strong>Starring:</strong> AnnaSophia Robb, Freema Agyeman, Chloe Bridges, Austin Butler and more. <strong>What's It About:</strong> A prequel to "Sex and the City," the new CW series follows Carrie Bradshaw as a high schooler in the '80s. She's discovering her style, dating, dealing with the death of her mother and falling in love for the first time ... with Manhattan.
Returns Monday, January 14 at 10 p.m. EST on Syfy <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Victory! But the darkness continues to grow in Bo (Anna Silk). <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Bo must make a deadly decision. Plus, tune in for guest star Linda Hamilton and recurring guest star Rachel Skarsten.
Returns Wednesday, January 16 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Feuds! Divas! Dawgs! Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban join the judging panel alongside veteran Randy Jackson for Season 12.
Returns Thursday, January 17 at 9 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: After Charlie and Kate slept together, they were in a weird place with their relationship. And when Charlie's daughter Sam kissed a girl at school, a photo wound up on Facebook and Charlie and Jennifer questioned their daughter's sexual orientation. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: 70+ more episodes. And in Season 2, Charlie will blow up at his sister's baby shower and will question if his father Martin is developing Alzheimer's. Cee Lo Green will stop by as a version of himself, seeking Charlie's assistance under Hollywood pressure.
Returns Thursday, January 17 at 10 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: The ISIS crew -- including Archer -- were held captive on the Space Station Horizon <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: A "Bob's Burgers" crossover! H. Jon Benjamin provides the voice of both Archer and Bob.
Monday, January 21 at 9 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>Starring</strong>: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore, Natalie Zea, Annie Parisse <strong>What's It About</strong>: Ryan Hardy's (Bacon) been out of the FBI game for a while, that is until his biggest catch, serial killer Joe Carroll (Purefoy) resurfaces ... along with a cult-like following ready to carry out his bidding.
Tuesday, January 22 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, Brian Malarkey <strong>What's It About</strong>: Think "The Voice" (there are teams and coaches), plus "Top Chef" (culinary competition) and you've got ABC's "The Taste."
Returns Tuesday, January 22 at 10 p.m. EST on USA <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Peter (Tim DeKay) and Neal (Matt Bomer) stepped into the boxing ring to infiltrate a white collar boxing club. Neal discovered his father was still alive (and played by Treat Williams!) <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Peter and Neal search for the truth about Neal's dad and his crimes and Neal goes undercover with the Irish mob ... And hopefully, more boxing.
Returns Wednesday, January 28 at 9 p.m. EST on TNT. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Slaps, sex and secrets filled the first season of the new "Dallas." The season ended with John Ross (Josh Henderson) teaming up with J.R. (Larry Hagman) to destroy Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and Elena (Jordana Brewster). <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Familiar faces return and the Ewings say goodbye to J.R. after series star Larry Hagman passed away about half way into filming Season 2. Producers will incorporate his death into the story.
Wednesday, January 30 at 10 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Starring</strong>: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich <strong>What's It About</strong>: Elizabeth (Russell) and Phillip (Rhys) Jennings are the perfect couple: They've got two kids and are living the life of every American in the '80s ... but they just so happen to be KGB spies posing as regular ol' US citizens.
"Do No Harm"
Thursday, January 31at 10 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring:</strong> Steven Pasquale, Alana de la Garza, Phylicia Rashād, John Carroll Lynch <strong>What's It About: </strong>A brilliant neurosurgeon (Pasquale) has a big secret: a very villainous dual personality. It's a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde story mixed with a medical drama.
"Rules of Engagement"
Returns Monday, February 4 at 8:30 p.m. EST on CBS <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Audrey (Megyn Price) was upstaged at her own baby shower by Brenda (Sara Rue). Meanwhile, Russell (David Spade) started to display creative talents after taking a break from women. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Sitcom hijinks!
Returns Tuesday, February 5 at 9 p.m. EST on NBC and moves to its normal Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST timeslot on February 12 on NBC <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Karen (Katharine McPhee) wowed the crowd as Marilyn Monroe in previews of "Bombshell" in Boston. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: More Broadway drama! There's a new musical in town that could rival "Bombshell" for all the buzz. Plus guest stars Jennifer Hudson, Liza Minnelli, Sean Hayes, Jesse L. Martin and more.
"Body of Proof"
Returns Tuesday, February 5 at 10 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Peter (Nicholas Bishop) saved Megan (Dana Delany) from a serial killer, but was stabbed in the process. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: New blood! Bishop, John Carroll Lynch and Sonja Sohn are out and Mark Valley is in.
Returns Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Evil Abed, "lawsuits" and sandwich shops filled the "Community" Season 3 finale that aired what feels like 30 years ago. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Six seasons and a movie. Just kidding, although that'd be cool (cool cool cool). Malcolm McDowell, Tricia Helfer, Jason Alexander and more will drop by for some Human Beings antics. Plus, Chevy Chase will depart the show.
Returns Friday, February 8 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jake (David Mazouz) fled to California and met up with Lucy (Maria Bello). <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Martin (Sutherland) and Jake (David Mazouz) soak up the Los Angeles sun ... and find themselves in the middle of a "global conspiracy."
Returns Wednesday, February 13 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS <strong>Starring</strong>: Jeff Probst, unnamed contestants <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Fans vs. Favorites, Round 2
Returns Wednesday, February 13 at 10 p.m. EST on TNT. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Cooper saved Tang, and then Tang got a big promotion becoming sergeant and watch commander. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: "One Tree Hill" star Chad Michael Murray joins the cast as goofball Officer Dave Mendoza.
Thursday, February 14 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Anthony Edwards, Carmen Ejogo, Scott Michael Foster, Addison Timlin, Jacinda Barrett and Michael Nyqvist <strong>What's It About</strong>: Think "National Treasure" and "Da Vinci's Code," but on TV and starring Dr. Greene from "ER." Edwards plays Hank Galliston, the publisher of Modern Skeptic Magazine. When his wife is abducted, Hank and his pals are joined by the FBI as they attempt to crack various conspiracies and get his wife back.
"The Amazing Race"
Returns Sunday, February 17 at 8:00 p.m. EST on CBS <strong>Starring</strong>: Phil Keoghan, unnamed contestants <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Globetrotting adventure.
Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m. EST on The CW <strong>Starring:</strong> Matt Davis, Alona Tal, Jessica Lucas, Robert Knepper <strong>What's It About</strong>: Matt Davis stars as Jeff, a journalist who investigates his brother's disappearance and his involvement with a group of obsessive fans who have formed a pseudo-cult around a TV series ... about a cult.
Premieres Tuesday, February 26 at 10 p.m. EST. Special showing on Tuesday, March 5 at 10 p.m. EST before moving to its regular Fridays at 9 p.m. EST time period on March 8 on CBS <strong>Starring</strong>: Theo James, Chi McBride, Kevin Alejandro, Bonnie Somerville <strong>What's It About</strong>: The series charts the rise of Walter William Clark Jr. (James), a beat cop who quickly moves up the ranks of the NYPD before becoming commissioner.
Returns Wednesday, February 27 at 10 p.m. EST <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Henry (Corbin Bernsen) got back into the detective game with the help of Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill). But the case ended with a bang as Henry was shot by a former friend. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Parminder Nagra joins the cast as a love interest of Gus. Plus, the long-awaited musical episode airs! Look for episodes inspired by "Clue" and "The Blair Witch Project" and for guest stars Jeffrey Tambor and Anthony Michael Hall, as well.
"All-Star Celebrity Apprentice"
Sunday, March 3 at 9 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring</strong>: Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Gary Busey, Penn Jillette, Lil Jon, Bret Michaels, Dennis Rodman, Dee Snider, Marilu Henner, La Toya Jackson, Claudia Jordan, Omarosa, Lisa Rinna, Brande Roderick <strong>What's It About</strong>: It's "Celebrity Apprentice," but with contestants who have already been to the boardroom with Donald Trump.
Sunday, March 3, 9:00 p.m. EST and moves to its regular timeslot on Sunday, March 10, 10:00 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Radha Mitchell, Goran Visnjic, Clifton Collins, Jr., Sterling Beaumon <strong>What's It About</strong>: Marta Walraven (Mitchell)'s husband Evan supports the family by exporting weed and is involved in the world of organized crime with Bratva, Russian gangsters. After Evan's murder, Marta seeks to protect her kids, but gets tangled in the seedy underworld.
Returns Friday, March 8 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos return to the show with new host Louise Roe as 13 new contestants compete for the chance to launch their own clothing line.
"Dancing With the Stars"
Returns Monday, March 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Tom Bergeron, Brooke Burke Charvet, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and unnamed celebrity contestants. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Celebrities dancing.
Returns Monday, March 25 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. <strong>Starring</strong>: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Presumably, a lot less ridiculously outfits without Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green.
"Game of Thrones"
Returns Sunday, March 31 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: War came. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/game-of-thrones-finale-recap_b_1566867.html">Read Maureen Ryan's recap for more</a>. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Tons of new cast members played by the likes of Diana Rigg, Iwan Rheon, Mackenzie Crook, Clive Russell and many more. Season 3 will be about half of George R.R. Martin's "A Storm of Swords," one of the series' most beloved books.
"How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)"
Wednesday, April 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Perkins, Brad Garrett <strong>What's It About</strong>: Polly (Chalke) is a recently divorced single mom. Since the divorce, Polly's been having some struggles and decides to move back in with her eccentric parents, Elaine (Perkins) and Max (Garrett). Hijinks ensue.
Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Kyle Bornheimer, J.K. Simmons, Leah Remini <strong>What's It About</strong>: After Tony (Simmons) suffers a heart attack, he's forced to hand over the family handyman business to his bumbling son Jack (Bornheimer).
"The Goodwin Games"
TBA on Fox <strong>Starring</strong>: Becki Newton, Scott Foley, T.J. Miller <strong>What's It About</strong>: Three estranged siblings reunite after the death of their father and unexpectedly find themselves heirs to a $20 million fortune ... if they adhere to their dad's wishes.
TBA on NBC <strong>Starring:</strong> Anne Heche, Michael Landes and Alexandra Breckenridge. <strong>What's It About: </strong>Anne Heche stars as Beth, a woman whose life -- and marriage -- is falling apart. However, after a new-death experience, Beth claims God starts speaking to her and sets her on a new life path.