On Wednesday, ABC took the lead at the Television Critics Association Winter Tour. While Dancing with the Stars wasn't at the forefront of the network's presentation, the show was mentioned during the executive session with ABC Entertainment president, Karey Burke.
The show has yet to be officially picked up for Season 29, but most of the signs are pointing toward a renewal. Let's read between the lines and decipher what ABC is hinting at.
Social media buzz/controversy
The steady ratings are important to note because it translates to advertising dollars. As long as DWTS continue to be a moneymaker for ABC, there will be a season renewal. The important number to note is that there was a 23.68% drop in viewership in Season 27, but only a 5.43% drop in Season 28.
ABC is not opposed whatsoever to casting another political figure, especially in a presidential election year. ABC has had two executives speak on the record about this and we don't even have an official renewal yet.
“It’s a ballroom dancing show, it’s not a political show. The contestants came with the spirit of that. The audience votes," said Burke when asked about Sean Spicer's involvement in the show.
She echoes the sentiment of Rob Mills, ABC Entertainment’s senior VP of alternative series, specials and late-night programming, who spoke to Variety in late December.
“I think you never say never to anything. We would never say never to someone in politics. We would look at anything, potentially, if it were good for the show. At the end of the day, we’re talking about a ballroom dancing competition — we weren’t asking Sean Spicer to lead a debate or do anything political — but you have to look at the reaction and we saw what people said."
With the duo doubling down on Spicer's casting, expect another political figure in Season 29.
The celebrities on Season 28 were left in the dark about other cast members. They found out about Sean Spicer at the Good Morning America reveal. For anyone who wants to stay away from politics, especially in a heated election year, this could make casting more difficult in 2020.
Filmmaker John Waters revealed exactly why he turned down a waltz in the DWTS ballroom and it came down to having no control over who else is in the cast.
"There’s just some things that don’t seem to be the right kind of trash for me," he said to the Dallas News. "I might have had to meet Nancy Grace or the new guy, what’s his name, the Trump one [Sean Spicer]. So that was my fear also, the other guests."
With The Masked Dancer jumping aboard FOX's new slate of shows, DWTS has some serious competition. Do you go on the hot new show on the block or an aging franchise where politics might be a topic? Many agents and publicists will steer their clients to The Masked Dancer just for that reason.
The next big event for ABC is Upfronts in May, where Season 28 was officially announced last year. Will ABC let us know sooner? Either way, they are leaving viewers with a lot to mull over until things heat up later this year.
Dance Dish will dive into this topic even further on Friday's Patreon podcast.
Check out this classic 'To The Pointe' episode with former 'Dancing with the Stars' pro, Elena Grinenko:
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