On the heels of a newly-released promo featuring new host Tyra Banks, a source revealed that the celebrity contestants will soon begin rehearsals with the show’s professional dancers. The insider confirmed that DWTS rehearsals are scheduled to start in September, but amid ongoing concerns over COVID-19 the start date could be pushed out if safety protocols change in Los Angeles, where the ABC celebrity ballroom competition is filmed.
The outlet also reported that production is reportedly taking this planning period day by day but that they are hoping to air the shows live as has been done for the past 28 seasons. A notable change will be the absence of original host Tom Bergeron, who was replaced by Banks. The America’s Next Top Model alum now has an executive producer credit on the show as well.
There is no word on how Dancing with the Stars will pull off the new season, even with mandatory safety protocols in place. The contestants obviously have to be in close contact with their partners. Ousted host Bergeron previously made a joke about having a stack of “glitter masks” on hand. It would be odd to see the dancers wearing matching masks with their sequined outfits, but anything is possible in 2020.
While the hope is to return to the ballroom for a live Dancing With the Stars experience, in a previous interview with Entertainment Tonight, veteran pro, Cheryl Burke, pitched a virtual edition of the show with quarantined partners if everyone can’t make it to the studio due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“At the end of the day, I can teach [husband Matthew Lawrence] how to dance,” the two-time mirrorball winner said. “I think it’d be really cool to teach your loved one at home how to dance. It could be a different type of experience, but I think we kind of have to go with the flow when it comes to changing.”
The ET source did not dish on any casting information or if family members will be involved. With a projected rehearsal start date in just one month, it would appear that at least some, if not all of the “stars” have been signed. In a new promo, seen here, a lineup of “surprising new stars” was teased.
As of now, the only confirmed Dancing With the Stars cast member is former Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was invited for a long-overdue spot to compete for the mirrorball trophy during a TV interview with Chris Harrison in June.
While the cast is unconfirmed, several longtime dancers have confirmed that they are sitting out Dancing with the Stars’ 29th competition, including pregnant pros Lindsay Arnold and Witney Carson. Banks, meanwhile, has repeatedly promised that the new season will be totally different and “next level.”