Did 'Dancing With the Stars' Live Up To Its Casting Promise?

by Kristyn Burtt | 8/21/2019 1:18 PM

Photo credit: Walt Disney Television/Lou Rocco.

After waiting a full year for another cycle of Dancing With the Stars, fans were more than ready for the cast reveal. In the lead-up to the announcement on Good Morning America on Wednesday, the show had teased cryptic photos and clues on their social media accounts.


This riled up viewers even more. Would Jessica Simpson and Kobe Bryant be appearing on DWTS? It would fit in with ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke's Upfronts statement that they were “going after bigger stars than we have in a long time.”  The list might be more recognizable than prior seasons, but the cast still falls within the network's wheelhouse.


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The producers took care of their ABC personalities by casting someone from the Bachelor franchise. This time, it's Hannah Brown, who made waves as the most recent Bachelorette. She's likable, fun, sometimes controversial and she's the first Bachelorette contestant viewers have seen since DWTS' inaugural season with Trista Sutter.


They also went with rehabilitation storyline fans have seen in the past with athletes like Ryan Lochte and Tonya Harding. This time, it's former NBA player Lamar Odom, who is looking to put his drug-fueled, self-sabotaging ways in the past, and former NFL star Ray Lewis, who was involved in post-Super Bowl incident in 2000 that led to murder charges. Those charges were eventually dropped, but the cloud of suspicion has lingered over his legacy.


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However, ABC did a great job in finding some higher wattage stars this season. “Uptown Girl” and supermodel Christie Brinkley, not only hits the nostalgia category, but she's recognizable across multiple generations.


There is also some fun, familiar TV faces with Dawson's Creek star James Van Der Beek and The Office's Kate Flannery joining Season 28. Karamo Brown is a welcome sight from Netflix's Queer Eye and music fans are excited to see Fifth Harmony's Ally Brooke and country star Lauren Alaina on the roster.


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The other surprise casting comes from the 2017 rumors that came to fruition in 2019 — Sean Spicer. The former White House Press Secretary is bound to be a sticking point with some of the DWTS audience given the fact that most do not love political figures in the ballroom, and yes, this means both political parties.


Overall, the cast has more recognizable names, but ABC mostly stuck to their familiar casting comfort zone — reality stars, nostalgia stars, athletes and musicians. The network does have more tricks up its sleeve, though, with format changes that include the pairings reveal on the season premiere and some fresh faces in the pro line-up.


The Season 28 Dancing With the Stars premiere is heading to ABC on Monday, Sept. 16. Will you be watching?


Season 28 cast:


Christie Brinkley


James Van Der Beek


Karamo Brown


Hannah Brown


Kel Mitchell


Sean Spicer


Ally Brooke


Kate Flannery


Lauren Alaina


Ray Lewis


Mary Wilson


Lamar Odom


Don’t miss Dance Network’s latest ‘To The Pointe’ interview with ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ judge, D-Trix:

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