WGA member Walsh announced that he had "walked out of rehearsal" from the ABC dance competition on Thursday after learning the show was considered “strike work” by the union
Following the Writers Guild of America (WGA) reaching a tentative agreement to end the writers' strike, the Veep star, 58, confirmed he would be returning to the ABC dance competition after taking a “pause” last week amid the labor dispute.
“With the hopeful resolution and vote with the WGA, Dancing with the Stars would no longer be a struck show therefore all cast would be able to return. This includes WGA member Matt Walsh,” a rep for Walsh told PEOPLE on Monday.
ABC also confirmed Dancing with the Stars “will premiere as originally scheduled” on Tuesday.
“I am taking a pause from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ until an agreement is made with the WGA,” Walsh said in a statement shared with PEOPLE. “I was excited to join the show and did so under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement. This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work I walked out of my rehearsal.”
“I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA,” he continued. “Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at ‘DWTS’ who tolerated my dancing.”
Walsh — who is partnered with pro dancer Koko Iwasaki — is set to compete against Jamie Lynn Spears, Mauricio Umansky, Jason Mraz, Alyson Hannigan, Mira Sorvino, Adrian Peterson, Barry Williams, Tyson Beckford, Xochitl Gomez, Harry Jowsey, Lele Pons, Ariana Madix and Charity Lawson for the mirrorball trophy.
The actor's decision to take “a pause” came amid calls for the series to delay production before the WGA reached an agreement on Sunday. However, in the hours after his announcement was made, SAG-AFTRA made a statement backing actors who chose to participate on the show's upcoming season.
"Our members appearing on 'Dancing with the Stars' are working under the Network Code agreement, which is a non-struck contract. They are required to go to work, are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules, and we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations," a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said in a statement, per Variety.
"The program is a SAG-AFTRA non-dramatic production under a separate agreement that is not subject to the union’s strike order," the statement continues. "The majority of our members on 'Dancing with the Stars' had contractual obligations to the show prior to the strike. Many are under option agreements that require them to return to the show if the producer exercises their option which the producer has done."
The organization noted that "by not showing up to work, our performers can be held in breach of contract and the Union is prohibited from advising them not to work."
"It is important to recognize that SAG-AFTRA is fighting against the studios and not members who are required to go to work every day under other union contracts or personal service agreements," the spokesperson concluded. "We stand with our union siblings across the industry as we also recognize our obligations under federal labor law."
While the SAG-AFTRA strike is ongoing, the WGA announced on Sunday it had reached a tentative deal with Hollywood studios to end the writers' strike.
“We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language,” the guild told its members on Sunday in a release sent to PEOPLE.
"We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership," the guild added.
Specific details of the WGA's tentative agreement were not disclosed, but the guild said in its release that a summary would be provided in advance of the membership ratification votes.
The strike, which first started on May 2, has lasted more than 140 days as the union representing entertainment writers working across film, television, news and online media picketed all across the country in demand of better pay as well as stipulations over other key points, including staffing commitments and duration of employment.
The new deal was struck with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) — which represents Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony — after the two groups met face-to-face Wednesday, and again virtually on Sunday.
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Season 32 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 on ABC, and will stream on Disney+ and Hulu.
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