'Dancing with the Stars' Season 32 premiere likely to be delayed by ABC
By Steven Rogers, 09/21/2023
Dancing with the Stars' Season 32 premiere will reportedly likely be delayed due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike.
Reports that the Dancing with the Stars season is now unlikely to premiere as scheduled next week suddenly emerged on Thursday after celebrities started feeling pressure to drop out of the reality competition following WGA union picketing that began at the show's rehearsal studios earlier this week.
Dancing with the Stars' 32rd season was set to debut with a two-and-a-half-hour premiere on Tuesday, September 26 on ABC with a simulcast on Disney+.
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 succeeded last week 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.
In addition, all of Dancing with the Stars' hosts, judges and professional dancers are also members of the SAG-AFTRA union.
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.
The striking writers reportedly directly targeted several of the celebrities with their picket line signs outside Dancing with the Stars' rehearsal studios this week -- including Walsh, Hannigan and Sorvino.
Walsh subsequently announced his decision to "take a pause" from the Dancing with the Stars season on Thursday morning, stating 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.
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"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. 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 Walsh, other celebrities have also reportedly begun to feel uncomfortable participating in the Dancing with the Starsseason and are 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.
"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."