Pamela Anderson steps up the ratings war for Seven

Seven draws upon former Baywatch babe to launch Dancing with the Stars in a furious ratings battle.

The Seven Network is stepping up the ratings war with a slew of new and returning shows to compete against its rival the Nine Network, and the might of TEN's MasterChef Australia.

So far this year Seven has won six weeks, while Nine has nine wins -- excluding Easter non-ratings and two Olympic weeks.

On Sunday night it launches the 10th season of Dancing with the Stars, a show that once landed them viewers of 2.2 million every week. Last year it averaged 1.43m, still a respectable figure, and delivering a healthy audience for Sunday nights.

To help entice viewers from Underbelly and MasterChef Australia, the network has brought out former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson, who made it to the top six in the US version of the show. Anderson last visited our shores when she was a 2008 Big Brother house guest -- a stunt that worked extremely well for TEN.

Anderson said, "I am doubly excited to be returning to Australia. It is one of my very favourite countries in the world to visit -- great people, great beaches, great (veggie) food and everything I love. And this time I am coming back with my dearest new Australian friend, the man who took on the task of teaching me how to dance, Damian Whitewood!"

This year's Dancing celebs are also pitted as younger and sexier than ever, as the network pushes to attract a younger demographic. They include George Houvardas, Esther Anderson, Jo Beth Taylor, Rachael Finch and Blair McDonough.

Adding to Seven's ammunition is the 2010 season for Packed to the Rafters. Kicking off with a double episode premiere, Julie and Dave Rafter bring their new baby Ruby home, but there is trouble on their doorstep with son Nathan's marriage problems.

In the drama department, Seven still has City Homicide up its sleeve, including new cast members and a pilot in development with Winners and Losers.

New game show Minute to Win It hosted by Darren McMullen will be looking to add some variety to Seven's schedule while Daniel MacPherson has been filming episodes of the huge game show Beat the Star.

Finally, there is Highway Patrol returning and a second season of My Kitchen Rules in development.

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