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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Will COVID-19 Impact the Casting Process for 'SYTYCD' & 'DWTS?'

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

It's time to get serious about the effects coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the entertainment industry. Hollywood is at the point of canceling or postponing events through June, including the Cannes Film Festival from May 12-23 and the Daytime Emmys on June 12.

With the final few weeks of the Dancing with the Stars Tour postponed and So You Think You Can Dance trying to cast Season 17, viewers need to start preparing for summer and fall interruptions to their favorite dance shows. It's not something anyone in the entertainment industry wants.

The Hollywood Reporter estimates that 120,000 below-the-line workers have already lost their jobs due to the production shutdown and the economic ramifications are already being felt. The entire industry wants to get back to work as soon as possible.

SYTYCD canceled their Producer Round auditions that were scheduled for this month and early April in Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. The first round will be done by video submissions for an invite to Judges Round, which is currently planned to run sometime between May 26 and June 3. With events being canceled left and right during this time frame, it's quite possible this casting will have to be moved to a later date.

Dancing with the Stars usually goes back into production in August, but the casting process begins much earlier because schedules need to be carved out and contract negotiations can be tricky. With COVID-19 lingering a lot longer than many anticipated, it could make Deena Katz's job difficult.

As DWTS' co-executive producer, she's in charge of wrangling talent each season. Now she's looking for people to dance close together in a sweaty studio for six-to-eight hours a day during a pandemic. That's a pretty big ask, especially if a celeb is over 65 years of age or someone who is immunosuppressed.

While we can't magically predict the future of any of these situations, we do know that all of California is under a “Safer at Home” emergency order until April 19 with a possibility of an extension. Even though pre-production work can be done now so crews are ready to go the first moment orders are lifted, there will still be many obstacles to climb from shifted premiere dates to an ever-dwindling TV audience. The good news for reality competition shows is that it will be easier to get up and running versus any scripted show, which requires a longer shooting calendar.

While entertainment is a secondary thought to health and safety in a moment like this, entertainment can also help our mental health as a great form of escapism over the worries of the world. What's even better is a healthy world filled with entertainment. Let's hope we get back to that soon.


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