Dancing With the Stars will soon debut its first-ever all-athletes edition, but that doesn’t mean the previously announced “junior” edition is dead. While the four-week sports-themed season bumped a previously announced “junior” edition featuring younger dancers that had originally been slated for spring 2018, it now appears that Dancing With the Stars fans will see a pint-sized spinoff at some point.
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that the upcoming all-athletes edition was not intended as a replacement for Dancing With the Stars Junior. Instead, it just came together faster. Dungey revealed that casting and scheduling conflicts made the athletes’ version a quick fix and that Dancing Junior will still happen.
“We were in the early stages of talent search for Dancing Junior and it wasn’t going to come together as quickly as we would have liked,” Dungey told TV Guide. “We’d been talking for awhile about trying to do an all-sports edition, but the problem is that athletes have such tight schedules it’s hard to do a whole 13-week run. This actually slotted in perfectly, so we’re going to try that and see how it goes.”
There has been a lot of confusion in the DWTS universe and this revelation just added to it.
Last year, Dancing fans were abuzz when the Junior edition, featuring celeb kids and kids of celebrities, was first announced. In May, the Dancing With the Stars Junior edition was announced alongside The Bachelor Winter Games spinoff. According to TV Line, DWTS Junior planned to take both celebrity kids and kids of celebrities and partner them with junior pro dancers to perform choreographed ballroom routines for a panel of judges.
But fans were thrown through a loop when ABC’s spring schedule was announced and Dancing With the Stars Junior was nowhere on it. Longtime show host Tom Bergeron confused fan even further with a perplexing series of tweets in November, just ahead of the Dancing With the Stars Season 25 finale.
“There will be a mini-Spring season (4 Weeks). Not “DWTS Junior,” Bergeron tweeted in November.
Days later, the four-week all-athletes edition was announced during the DWTS Season 25 finale. During the TCA panel, Dungey said that the all-sports mini-season of Dancing With the Stars will include a mix of active and retired athletes. The cast has not yet been announced.
So, with Dancing With the Stars set to air a mini, themed season this spring, when can fans expect to see Junior? It would be a surprise if ABC doesn’t continue its normal cycle with a full season of adult celebs this fall, then perhaps go for a mini-season with junior celebs in spring 2019.
Dancing With the Stars All-Athletes edition will premiere Monday, April 30 on ABC.