ABC is putting in place plans to postpone the Sept. 26 premiere of Dancing with the Stars. That involves identifying alternate temporary programming for the Tuesday 8-10 PM time slot and crafting a new rollout plan for Season 32 of the dance competition.
The move comes as actors in DWTS’ celebrity cast, particularly Matt Walsh, Alyson Hannigan and Mira Sorvino, have come under pressure from striking WGA members. Anticipating that some of them will begin backing out, ABC is working on contingency plans. Walsh already is “pausing” his involvement in the show; others may follow, with Hannigan and Sorvino taking a wait-and-see approach while monitoring the situation. A final decision on pushing the premiere will be made in the coming days. Meanwhile, celebrity contestants who want to continue to rehearse will be able to do so.
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WGA picketers targeted multiple rehearsals Wednesday. Some union members started posting last week on X that they would walk the line outside of DWTS, which is a WGA signatory that typically employs one writer to pen talking points for the hosts.
Strikers’ picket signs referenced season 32’s highest profile celebrities with messages like “Can’t Dance Your Way Out Of This” and “This One Time At Band Camp … Alyson Hannigan Screwed The Entire WGA.”
Walsh was targeted because he’s a member of both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
Variety shows like DWTS are covered under the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, which is better known as Network Code. It is separate to the film and TV collective bargaining agreement that SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have been negotiating and is between the guild and the Big 4 broadcast networks, as well as other producers. (It is the same rule that applies to daytime soaps and morning shows.)
Because of that, ABC is allowed to put on DWTS, and SAG-AFTRA members are allowed to participate. It is the show’s WGA affiliation via the employment of one writer out of 500 crew members that has gotten the series in hot water.
Over the past 24 hours, there have been encouraging signs out of the WGA-AMPTP negotiations, with end of the five-month strike possibly in sight.
Season 32 marks the return of DWTS to ABC. The show aired last season on Disney+.
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