What's at Stake for 'Dancing With the Stars' in Season 28?

by Kristyn Burtt | 6/14/2019 2:06 PM

Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless.

The 2018-2019 television season is officially closed and the ratings are in. The truth is, the numbers don't lie — Dancing With the Stars had a rough year with Season 27.


ABC has faith in the show, though. Even with an uneven season, DWTS still has watercolor moments. Viewers continue to talk about Season 27 winner Bobby Bones — ask a DWTS fan and they will give you a strong opinion for or against the media personality.


More: 'Dancing With The Stars' Producers Reflect on Season 27 at Emmys Event


With the show down almost 24% in the ratings from the prior year and down 32% in the coveted 18-49 demographic, ABC knew they had to make a change. Producers have already spoken on record that they need a celebrity who has it all — a journey and a bit of dancing ability. Tom Bergeron has even indicated that some fan suggestions will be taken into consideration for Season 28.


On June 4 he tweeted, "Just had first meeting re: Season 28 of @DancingABC. Major takeaway; we hear you #DWTS."


ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke also promised that they were “going after bigger stars than we have in a long time.” It's clear that everyone is feeling the pressure of a make-it-or-break-it season for DWTS.


More: Ballerina Joy Womack Reflects on the Legacy of NYCB Star Yvonne Mounsey


With the new Disney-FOX merger, there will be a lot of scrutiny about the direction the network is going in. They want to deliver. With FOX riding the success of The Masked Singer, which also utilizes the casting skills of DWTS co-executive producer Deena Katz, can ABC bring this franchise back?


By delivering a full season of DWTS once a year, ABC still considers this show viable. However, will fans return after being disappointed with Season 26's all-athletes mini-season and the chaos of Season 27? The show has been teasing the changes, but hasn't confirmed anything when it comes to the cast, pros, judges and voting.


Behind the scenes, things are happening. The producers are continuing the interview process to find the right mix of celebrities for Season 28. An audition was held on May 2 to look at new talent for possible pro and troupe positions. Ashley Edens-Shaffer is no longer with the show and Andrew Llinares is the sole executive producer for Season 28.


More: Why It’s Important to Support Your Favorite Dance Stars Beyond ‘DWTS’


In addition to these changes, some new developments have arisen. Dance Network has learned that producers want to go back to basics with the show's format. It was Latin and ballroom that made the show popular, so there will a core focus on those styles. It's why they were also looking at a new pro/troupe talent with those specific skills.


Mandy Moore will also be moving out of her producer role on the show to tackle a new choreography challenge on the scripted side. NBC's musical drama, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, was picked up for fall and will be filming primarily in Vancouver, Canada. It's possible that she will return to choreograph a number if time allows, but she will not be there on a week-to-week basis.


With these formative changes, DWTS already looks different from Season 27. ABC is betting big time on the ballroom in Season 28. Will you be there to watch? 

Don’t miss Dance Network’s ‘To The Pointe’ interview with ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Step Up: High Water’ star Kendra Oyesanya:


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