Harper joins 'Dancing With the Stars' competition
This image released by ABC shows actress Valerie Harper on "Good Morning America," Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 in New York after it was announced that she will be one of 12 celebrities competing on "Dancing with the Stars." The celebrity dance competition series premieres on Sept. 16. (AP Photo/ABC, Ida Mae Astute)
NEW YORK (AP) — Busy cancer patient Valerie Harper leads a class of 12 amateur hoofers in the upcoming 17th season of "Dancing With the Stars."
The cast was revealed Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." For a show that has reached an increasingly older audience, ABC added an injection of youth with reality stars Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi of "Jersey Shore" and Ozzy's kid Jack Osbourne.
Harper has defied odds with her survival since being diagnosed earlier this year with brain cancer. She recently filmed a movie role and joined a Nick at Nite reunion of "The Mary Tyler Moore" cast.
A brain scan last month showed improvement for the 74-year-old former sitcom star, whose doctors say her cancer is getting close to remission. She will have her next scan in October.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Harper said that so far, she's not taking any precautions when she's rehearsing.
"He (pro partner Tristan MacManus) says, 'Do you want to get water?' Which is great because I don't drink enough water but (that's) not to do with the cancer ... (it's) not an impediment to dancing and I just try to stay healthy and continue to lose weight so I look halfway decent in the costumes," she said with a laugh.
Harper said of her decision to join the show: "There's a (Lee Ann Womack) country song (with the lyrics) 'when you get the choice you sit it out or dance/ I hope you dance.'"
Other contestants on the new season of "Dancing," which premieres Sept. 16, are Bill Nye, the "Science Guy"; "Pretty Little Liars" actor Brant Daugherty; former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson; singer-actress Christina Milian; actress Elizabeth Berkley; "High School Musical" actor Corbin Bleu; "Glee" actress Amber Riley; country comic Bill Engvall; and "King of Queens" actress Leah Remini.
The celebrities and their pro partners, minus Remini and dancer Tony Dovolani, all made the trek to New York to promote the show's return.
Although still a ratings winner for ABC in its 16th season, the celebrity dancing contest has seen its overall audience decline and grow older, an issue for networks that get higher commercial ad rates for younger viewers.
This image released by ABC shows, standing from left, NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, comic Bill Engvall, TV personality Jack Osbourne, actor Corbin Bleu, Bill Nye, the "Science Guy," actor Brant Daugherty, and seated from left, TV personality Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, actress Valerie Harper, singer-actress Christina Milian, actress Elizabeth Berkley and actress Amber Riley on "Good Morning America," Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 in New York. These 11 celebrities, along with actress Leah Remini, will be the next celebrity contestants on the dance competition series "Dancing with the Stars," premiering Sept. 16. (AP Photo/ABC, Ida Mae Astute)
"Dancing" will now air once a week on Mondays rather than Mondays and Tuesdays.