The dance must go on, even in these coronavirus times. “Dancing with the Stars” will return with its 29th season this fall, but it’ll look very different — not just because there won’t be a studio audience.
Here’s everything we know about the 29th installment so far.
It has a premiere date
Despite COVID-19, “Dancing” will maintain its usual mid-to-late September premiere and is scheduled to launch Monday, Sept. 14 at 8/7c. Producers had been aiming for a September premiere pending approval of its health and safety protocols and other factors. Production details have not yet been announced.
Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews are out!
In July, Bergeron, who’s hosted the show since its inception in 2005, revealed on Twitter that he was dropped. ABC and BBC Studios later confirmed that Andrews, who joined in 2014, was out as well as the show heads into a “new creative direction.”
Tyra Banks is in!
A day after Bergeron’s and Andrews’ exits, ABC announced that the “America’s Next Top Model” creator will take over hosting duties. She will also serve as an executive producer and teased the changes on “Good Morning America.” “We’re doing all this crazy stuff, taking it to the next level, but still keeping the stuff that we know America loves,” she said. “But you need to get ready because it’s going to be different.”
Derek Hough is back — as a judge!
The six-time champ is returning to the ballroom as a judge, replacing head judge Len Goodman, who is unable to travel to the Los Angeles from the U.K. because of the pandemic. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli will be back.
The cast features 15 people
They are Carole Baskin, Nelly, AJ McLean, Monica Aldama, Jesse Metcalfe, Anne Heche, Johnny Weir, Vernon Davis, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Justina Machado, Charles Oakley, Jeannie Mai, Skai Jackson, Chrishell Stause and Nev Schulman. With 15 contestants, this is the second largest cast ever following the 16-person lineup of Season 9.
The pro lineup is a mix of old and new
The pros are Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Daniella Karagach, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater and Britt Stewart.
Burgess and Chigvintsev are returning after getting dropped last year. Motsepe and Karagach are promoted to full-time pros after not having partners last season. Karagach and Stewart, a former troupe member, are new pros, and the latter is the first full-time Black female pro.
The married pros can’t live together
Because of COVID-19, the three married couples — Chmerkovskiy and Johnson, Farber and Slater, Karagach and Pashkov — cannot live together during the season. The cast will also be tested five times a week.
Lindsay Arnold or Witney Carson aren’t back for a very good reason
The BFFs are both pregnant with their first child, so they will miss the season. Arnold is due with a girl in November, while Carson is due in January with a boy. Arnold hopes to be involved with the show in some way and plans to return as a pro for Season 30.
The pairings will be unveiled on the premiere
Just like last season, “Dancing” is planning on keeping the partnerships under wraps until show night.
There’s a new set
The show redesigned the set, putting in extra screens, because there won’t be an in-studio audience or a house band. “What we didn’t want to have in the ballroom was loads of empty seats, we wanted it to look like there was a purpose to it so we’re redesigning the ballroom,” showrunner and executive producer Andrew Llinares told our sister site “Deadline.” In addition, the skybox is gone and the judges’ desk has been elongated to maintain a distance of eight feet between the trio. Couples also have to be eight feet apart from each other and the judges.
Get ready for stripped-down dances
Routines won’t have backup dancers or large set pieces to keep studio personnel at a minimum, so the routines would look more like those of the early years.
There won’t be camera crews in rehearsals
The show has fitted the rehearsal studio with cameras instead.
There’s no voting or elimination in Week 1
The couples will only receive judges’ scores the first week, which also won’t have an elimination. Voting will start in Week 2, and those will be combined with scores from both weeks for the first elimination of the season. Voting will operate the same way: It is only open during the live broadcast in the Eastern and Central time zones, but fans in all time zones can vote during that window, and the combined total will be revealed during the broadcasts.