“Dancing with the Stars” recently announced the cast for its upcoming 32nd season, which is scheduled to premiere on Tuesday night, September 26. But despite being a reality competition show focused on amateur dancers’ skills, it employs a WGA writer and is therefore one of the struck productions according to the WGA strike rules. The guild is actively picketing the show’s rehearsal space, and contestant Matt Walsh, a member of both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, has already dropped out.
WGA board member David Slack tweeted, “Its writers are on strike, and they can’t make the show without scab writing.” Addressing the cast of the show directly he added, “I know you’re all under contract and this is a tough situation. But if Drew Barrymore can step up and do the right thing alone, I hope you can do this together in solidarity.”
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Longtime pro dancer Cheryl Burke echoed those sentiments, telling Variety, “In order for things to change, we have to stick together, point blank, because if one show just decides to think about the show on its own, this is not going to make big changes … I don’t think it’s gonna be good for the show, to be quite honest, in the long run.”
“Dancing with the Stars” isn’t the only show under pressure to delay production until the end of the strikes. The aforementioned Drew Barrymore received significant backlash when she decided to bring her daytime talk show back on air. She eventually acquiesced to WGA demands that she delay her show’s premiere until the strike is resolved. So did Bill Maher, Jennifer Hudson and “The Talk.”
“Dancing” isn’t the only ABC production that has run afoul of strike rules. “The View” has also been picketed by the WGA, though neither show is in violation of the SAG-AFTRA strike — as long as “Dancing” contestants avoid promoting their past and current film and TV work. The new season of “Dancing” includes actors and SAG-AFTRA members Barry Williams, Mira Sorvino and Alyson Hannigan.
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