Expect an “entirely new dynamic” on “Dancing with the Stars” for its upcoming 26th season starting on April 30. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the series is getting a new showrunner: Andrew Llinares, who produced both the UK and US versions of “The X Factor,” in addition to “Britain’s Got Talent” and “Pop Idol,” so he knows a thing or two about reality competition shows.
Llinares told THR, “‘Dancing With the Stars’ is one of the largest scale shows on television, and I love that it provides a place for me, as a producer, to have big, ambitious ideas that I can then bring to life. It can be quite the undertaking to come in to a show that has been on the air for 25 seasons, but I’m excited about taking on the challenge and finding new ways to take the show forward.”
But he’ll have to fit those big, ambitious ideas into just four weeks as “DWTS” will be airing a special shortened season featuring all athletes as the celebrity contestants. He doesn’t reveal specifically who he would like to recruit for the ballroom, though he expects a “level of competition that we may never have seen before on the show” given the success many athletes have had over the years — and we have a few Winter Olympic suggestions for him as well.
In 25 past seasons of the show there have been 10 athletes to win the Mirror Ball Trophy. Four football players have prevailed: Emmitt Smith (season 3), Hines Ward (season 12), Donald Driver (season 14) and Rashad Jennings (season 24). Three ice skaters have also won: speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno (season 4) and figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi (season 6) and Meryl Davis (season 18). Two gymnasts have come out on top: Shawn Johnson (season 8) and Laurie Hernandez (season 23). And one race car driver crossed the finish line first: Helio Castroneves (season 5).
So what will happen when athletes compete exclusively against other athletes on the dance floor? And what other surprises can we expect from the long-running reality show’s new leader?