Dancing with the Stars will now include Matt Walsh as a celebrity contestant on its premiere, which will air on ABC as scheduled, after a tentative deal was made with the Writers Guild of America.

Amid the strikes in Hollywood, Walsh announced his decision to "take a pause" from the Dancing with the Stars season in solidarity with other union members, stating on Thursday, September 21 that he didn't previously know the show is covered by the WGA.


But now that writers and producers reached a preliminary agreement on Sunday night, Walsh has rejoined Dancing with the Stars' 32nd season, which is set to premiere Tuesday, September 26 on ABC with a simulcast on Disney+.

"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," Walsh's representative said in a statement to Deadline on Monday, September 25.

The comedian and actor also took to Instagram to share the news of his renewed Dancing with the Stars participation.

"It's been a brutal summer for all of us union members, so happy the WGA brokered a deal with the studios, it will be nice to put down our signs," Walsh wrote. "Now let's use this momentum to get all SAG/AFTRA actors back to work."

Reports swirled on Thursday, September 21 that Dancing with the Stars' Season 32 premiere may be delayed because celebrities had started feeling pressure to drop out of the competition following WGA union picketing that began at the show's rehearsal studios days earlier.

The WGA reportedly began picketing Dancing with the Stars -- which usually employs a single WGA writer to script some of the hosts' comments -- after it had previously succeeded in pressuring several daytime talk shows to backtrack on their own plans to return without their WGA writers as the strike continued.

Many of the 14 celebrities in Dancing with the Stars' Season 32 cast are members of either the WGA union, which went on strike against Hollywood's production studios in May, or the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the union which covers American film and television actors and also went on strike in July.

Matt is a member of the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and Directors Guild of America (DGA) unions.

But all the SAG-AFTRA members are eligible to work on Dancing with the Stars under SAG-AFTRA's "Network Code" agreement, which covers talk and variety shows and daytime soap operas and is not part of the current strike, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

SAG-AFTRA's rules do not allow any current or former SAG-AFTRA projects to be promoted or discussed, however, which means the Dancing with the Stars season will not be able to include any footage or discussion of the actors' prior shows or movies, Variety reported.
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The striking writers reportedly directly targeted several of the celebrities with their picket line signs outside Dancing with the Stars' rehearsal studios last week -- including Matt, Alyson Hannigan and Mira Sorvino.

Alyson and Mira are members of the SAG-AFTRA union, along with fellow DWTS 32 contestants Ariana Madix, Barry Williams, Xochitl Gomez, and Jamie Lynn Spears, according to Variety.

That same day, Matt announced he was backing out of Dancing with the Stars, at least for the foreseeable future, because he didn't know the show is covered by the WGA.

"I am taking a pause from Dancing with the Stars until an agreement is made with the WGA," Walsh told Variety in a statement.

"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 added.

"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."

In addition to Matt, other celebrities had also reportedly begun to feel uncomfortable participating in the Dancing with the Stars season and were considering withdrawing.

Dancing with the Stars -- which employs an overall staff of 500 -- remained in production without its WGA writer during the last WGA strike which occurred during the 2007-2008 television season and re-hired the writer after the strike ended.

On September 18, newly-retired Dancing with the Stars pro dancer Cheryl Burke had also told Variety she felt the show should delay its season until the WGA strike was over.


"At the end of the day, we have to stick together because that's the only way to ever make any significant change," she told the outlet.

"I don't think it's gonna be good for the show, to be quite honest, in the long run. I understand what they're thinking and I get it. It's a business, but there is no business without the rest of the business... I think they should hold tight. I think we need to stand as one. We need to unite for real and not just say we're united."

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.