For the second year in a row, “Dancing with the Stars” sat out the spring cycle, which would’ve been halted anyway due to COVID-19. So once again, you’ll have to wait a wee bit longer for its return. But will it even be able to air in the fall at this point? Well, that’s the plan.
Here’s everything we know about the 29th installment so far.
It’s scheduled to air in the fall
“Dancing” was officially renewed for a 29th season on May 21, months after ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke and Rob Mills, ABC Entertainment’s senior VP of alternative series, specials and late-night programming, had been speaking about a 29th season that would air in the fall since December. ABC slotted “Dancing” on its fall schedule on June 17 in its regular Mondays-at-8 timeslot, but a precise premiere date is still TBD. Translation: Chances are it won’t debut during premiere week in mid-September like usual, but Burke is hoping all of the network’s fall shows can unfurl over the fall.
It’s unclear how “Dancing” will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has basically shut down the world. Cheryl Burke is hopeful that a fall season can get off the ground, but if quarantining is still in place, she believes the show can come up with some workarounds, like a virtual season.
Which pros are returning?
It’s far too early to say, and given how abruptly “Dancing” dropped Sharna Burgess and Artem Chigvintsev like a bad habit last season, no one is really safe until the official cast announcement. Burgess has said she’s willing to return if asked. You can probably expect most of the “new guard” pros back. One of old guard, Peta Murgatroyd, who returned last season after two years, expressed interest in doing Season 29, saying in October that she and husband Maksim Chmerkovskiy had discussed “scheduling in” having a second baby before Season 29 so she wouldn’t have to miss a cycle like she did with her first pregnancy, when “Dancing” still aired twice in a calendar year. She is not currently pregnant.
Her brother-in-law Val Chmerkovskiy said in March that he is “more than willing to be a part” of “Dancing” if producers want him.
But Maks still won’t be back
Murgatroyd is a “maybe,” but don’t count on a Chmerkovskiy comeback. The Season 18 champ, who last competed on Season 25 in fall 2017, recently reiterated that he has no plans to return as a pro. “We have incredible relationships with producers, pretty much everybody on set, behind the scenes and so on. I’m ecstatic for Peta to be able to have this opportunity still when it’s available, and I have to move on,” he told “Entertainment Tonight.” “I’ve got to do other things. We have so much stuff coming up, and it’s been an incredible, I would say, year of sort of self-discovery as a family.” Chmerkovskiy has previously stated he’d like to be a judge on the show, but that appears to be lower on his priority list now.
Neither will Lindsay Arnold
Arnold announced in May that she’s pregnant with her first child, a girl, and due in mid-November, so she will miss the season. The Season 25 champ hopes to be involved with the show in some way and plans to return as a pro for Season 30.
The cast includes…
Well, just one person for now. Kaitlyn Bristowe, who headlined Season 11 of “The Bachelorette,” was the first star cast — the surprise reveal coming during “The Bachelor: Greatest Seasons — Ever!” in June. Bristowe had long wanted to do “Dancing” and had previously alleged that “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss blocked her from accepting an offer in 2015 after her “Bachelorette” stint.
Producers have these celebrities in mind
Mills has shared some of the stars on his wish list; at the top is Charlie Sheen, who declined a spot on Season 28, but the exec is not throwing in the towel yet. “I found him to be one of the nicest, most charming people. He is just a born entertainer and I think people would love to see him, but it may not be for him,” Mills told our sister site “Variety” in December. “What I really found very sweet about him is he basically said, ‘I really don’t dance. I’ve got two left feet.’ So there’s a real sweetness and vulnerability, which would be really fun to showcase on the show.”
Mills is also going after Ryan Shazier, a former Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker who suffered a spinal contusion in a head-on tackle during a game in December 2017 that nearly left him paralyzed. In May, a video of him dancing at his wedding went viral, which is exactly the type of inspirational story “Dancing” covets.
And there could be a redemption arc on the horizon for Christie Brinkley. After turning down “Dancing” for years, the supermodel finally joined last season, but she broke her arm in rehearsal days before the premiere and was replaced by her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook. Mills would “love to see her back dancing in the ballroom.” He’s also hoping to get another “Queer Eye” guy on after Karamo finished in eighth place last season.
Another politician is not out of the question
All the backlash to Sean Spicer‘s casting last season has not deterred TPTB from possibly booking another political lightning rod. (Reminder: The election will be smack dab in the middle of Season 29.) Mills “would never say never to someone in politics” and “would look at anything, potentially, if it were good for the show.” Burke also stood by Spicer’s casting in January, saying, “It’s a ballroom dancing show; it is not a political show. The contestants came with the spirit of that.”
The judges’ table might not be the same
Because of travel restrictions, Len Goodman does not anticipate his annual trip across the pond this fall. There is, of course, the possibility of virtual judging.