Amid calls from the Writers Guild of America to delay the premiere during the ongoing writers’ strike, ABC and Disney+ are moving ahead with plans to premiere the new season of “Dancing With the Stars” next week. Variety he learned
“Dancing With the Stars” employs 500 people and employs one WGA writer.
This is reported by sources close to the production Variety that the show will operate within SAG-AFTRA rules and a key goal is not to put talent in trouble, given that many members of the Season 32 cast are part of the actors’ guild. Another major key factor was to ensure that a large staff was not out of work, the insiders added. ABC declined to comment.
“Everyone is focused on keeping 500 employees on the job,” says a production source Variety. This person says the WGA writer will be back on the job once the strike is over.
WGA writer on “Dancing With the Stars” works with hosts. The show is otherwise largely unscripted, due to the live nature of the dance competition.
During the last strike in 2007-2008, “Dancing With the Stars” remained in production and similarly rehired its writer once the strike ended.
SAG-AFTRA rules mean talent can still appear because participation on “Dancing with the Stars” falls under the Network Code agreement, which is not part of the current strike. Season 32’s cast includes several SAG-AFTRA members, including Alyson Hannigan, Jamie Lynn Spears, Barry Williams, Matt Walsh, Mira Sorvino, Ariana Madix, and Xochitl Gomez.
“Dancing With the Stars” typically features video packages within episodes that showcase cast members’ past television and film projects. Under current strike rules, former SAG-AFTRA projects cannot be promoted or discussed, which could complicate “DWTS” packages — but a source confirms that this season will not include any footage from past shows or movies to comply with union rules. . (For example, don’t expect to see “Brady Bunch” flashbacks when you introduce Williams for his rumba, and Hannigan won’t be discussing her slaying of vampires in “Buffy” while slaying on the dance floor.)
“Dancing With the Stars” recently became the subject of online chatter among WGA members on social media. Over the weekend — as news broke that “The Drew Barrymore Show,” “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” backed out of plans to return during the strike — WGA members called out “Dancing With the Stars,” noting that the show covered by the WGA, which means the author is represented by the WGA on staff. Tweet by WGA member David Slack went viralwith “Dancing with the Stars” being a WGA covered show. His writers are on strike and can’t do a show without writing a scab.” Other writers called the show variations “Dance with Scabs” or “Scabbing With the Stars.”
Former serial pro Cheryl Burke said Monday morning Variety that she felt “Dancing with the Stars” should stop until the strikes are over. “At the end of the day, we have to stick together because that’s the only way we’re ever going to make any meaningful change,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to be good for the show, to be honest, in the long run.” I understand what he’s thinking and I get it. It’s a business, but it’s not a business without the rest of the business… I think they should hang tight. I think we must stand as one. We must really unite and not just say we are united.’
After a month of suspended negotiations, the WGA will meet with the AMPTP on Wednesday, which will mark the 140th day of the strike.
“Dancing With the Stars” premieres for two and a half hours on Sept. 28 on ABC and is simulcast on Disney+. The season marks a return to ABC for “DWTS,” which moved exclusively to Disney+ last season, as well as a move to Tuesdays after a long run on Monday nights.
Variety asked a WGA spokesperson for comment.