Step aside, Tom Bergeron. Dancing with the Stars: Juniors has found its hosts, and surprisingly, ABC’s longtime dance master won’t be emceeing the kid-themed version of the competition.
Entertainment Tonight reports that Dancing with the Stars fan favorites Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz will serve as hosts for the upcoming Juniors season of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition. The addition of the hosting duo will mark the first season in the franchises’ 13-year history that won’t feature Tom Bergeron and a female co-host.
Muniz, who competed on the milestone 25th season of Dancing with the Stars, told ET he’s happy to stay in the DWTS “family” and experience the show from a different perspective, while Fisher, the mirrorball champ of the 25th season, said the hosting gig feels like a return to home.
“It’s Dancing with the Stars as you know it. It’s people you are familiar with and that you love. It’s a stage that you’re familiar with, that you love, but it’s [all] brand new. It’s the same show — it’s the same feeling of sitting down and watching people compete in something that they’ve never done before.”
Following their successful stints on Dancing with the Stars (Muniz finished in third place with pro partner Witney Carson), both stars joined the DWTS Live: Light Up the Night Tour. Muniz now says he can relate to the child celebs on DWTS: Juniors after the terror he felt before each live show while on tour.
“We did 71 shows on the tour. Before every show, I was petrified, so I can’t imagine these little kids!”
News of the surprising Dancing with the Stars: Juniors hosting duo comes on the heels of the announcement that two-time DWTS mirrorball champion Val Chmerkovskiy, Emmy-nominated choreographer Mandy Moore, and reigning DWTS celebrity champ, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, will serve as judges on the Juniors season. The new judging trio marks the first time since the show’s 2005 debut that won’t feature the show’s veteran judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli.
The Dancing with the Stars: Juniors spinoff, which will air this fall in conjunction with the regular Dancing with the Stars season, will feature child celebrities partnered with junior pro dancers mentored by Dancing with the Stars pros. The full Dancing with the Stars: Juniors cast list is expected to be announced by ABC shortly.
Just Jared has revealed the names of some of the expected DWTS juniors pros and mentors, including Rylee Arnold, Hailey Bills, Cheryl Burke, Lindsay Arnold, Artem Chigvintsev, Gleb Savchenko, Witney Carson, Keo Motsepe, Sasha Farber, Emma Slater, Jenna Johnson, and Hayley Erbert.
In addition, reality star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and Black-ish actor Miles Brown are rumored to be contestants on the show. TMZ also reported that Sophia Pippen, the 9-year-old daughter of NBA legend Scottie Pippen and Real Housewives of Miami star Larsa Pippen, will also compete for the very first DWTS: Juniors trophy.
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is set to premiere Oct. 7 on ABC.