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Monaco Responds to 'Dance' Detractors

Kelly Monaco (search) knows there are television viewers who aren't happy she won ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" (search) competition, but she isn't going to let it bother her.

"I do not hold anything personally. I'm not going to go home and cry because someone did not like my dancing," the actress from ABC's "General Hospital" (search) said Tuesday of a viewer backlash.

"I felt from the beginning this is fun for me. ... If you don't like it, you don't like it. I wouldn't be sitting here if the whole world hated what I did," she told the Television Critics Association.

Monaco and the producers of the ABC series were peppered with questions, with some reporters saying they received complaints from viewers who were confused by the voting process that relied on both the audience and judges.

Questions also were raised about possible network favoritism for Monaco. The runner-up was John O'Hurley (search), who played catalogue king J. Peterman on NBC's "Seinfeld." (search)

Judge Len Goodman said the results weren't influenced by the network.

"I never knew she was on ABC," he said of Monaco.

Asked about reports that O'Hurley was upset he didn't win, supervising producer Izzie Pick said only that the actor was "obviously disappointed." Pick noted how much time and effort O'Hurley and others put into training and competing.

Monaco received support from judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who said she scored the actress' final dance a "10" because "she did a great performance, she showed us what she had."

O'Hurley, on the other hand, played it safe with his routine, Inaba said.

The celebrity contest has found overwhelming success in the United Kingdom, where it originated, as well as in other countries including Australia, Poland and Denmark, said Paul Telegdy, a BBC executive.

"It's a fun, satisfying show that hasn't got a nasty bone in its body," he said. "We're really enjoying the controversy but it baffles us."

The program proved to be an American hit as well, ranking as the most popular summer series since the first "Survivor" on CBS in 2000, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It will be returning at midseason and changes are under consideration, said Pick, who was vague on details.

Earlier Tuesday at the critics' meeting, ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson was grilled about Monaco's victory and viewer perceptions of possible ABC influence.

"Do I understand it? I guess I understand that people are going to have strong preferences. I love that people are so wrapped up in the show," he said.

He suggested the possibility of a "dance-off" between Monaco and O'Hurley. When a reporter asked Monaco about it later, she replied: "Bring it on. You want a dance-off, come on up here. I'll give you a dance-off."

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