Executive producer Conrad Green has revealed the reality series' upcoming ninth installment will feature 16 celebrities and three double eliminations in the middle of the season, Entertainment Tonightreported Monday.
"This is going to be our biggest-ever cast," Green told ET. "We are going to start big, and then about halfway through, we are going to do three double eliminations back-to-back. The middle of the season is going to be brutal when half of our cast goes in three weeks."
Green explained the larger cast was needed to fill Dancing with the Stars' two-hour performance episode timeslot and to keep the show fresh as it enters its ninth season, which premieres September 21 on ABC.
The 16 celebrity participants represent the most ever for Dancing with the Stars, which had featured 13 couples during its seventh and eighth seasons.
More professional dancers will obviously be needed to accommodate the additional celebrities, however Green said no former So You Think You Can Dance contestants will be joining the cast for the ninth season.
"We were turning into their alumni show," Green told ET, alluding to the addition of So You Think You Can Dance alumni Chelsie Hightower, Dmitry Chaplin and Lacey Schwimmer in recent seasons. "But we might bring in one or two new faces. We haven't decided yet whether to bring in new faces or more of our favorites."
Green also played coy when asked about the possibility of Paula Abdul joining the show after she recently announced she would not be returning to American Idol.
"It is for Paula to work out," he told ET. "At the moment, the world is her oyster. Everyone wants her. At our show, we are great fans of Paula."
Green also remained mum on the identities of the ninth-season celebrity participants, who will be revealed August 17 on Good Morning America.
"I love the fact that people want to be on the show," he told ET.
"If people get in the press and say, 'I am on the show,' even if they are not, what can you do? I think our celebrity show is the one that most people want to be on because they realize it isn't degrading or demeaning in any way. You learn a new skill, and it is a wholesome family show."
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