“Dancing with the Stars” may no longer be in step with its scheduled Tuesday premiere date after contestant Matt Walsh (“Veep”) walked out of a rehearsal.
ABC confirms that it’s making plans to delay the 32nd season premiere of its battle of the ballroom amid the writers and actors strikes.
“I am taking a pause from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ until an agreement is made with the WGA,” Walsh said in a statement Thursday provided by his rep, Samantha Srinivasan. “I was excited to join the show and did so under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement. This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work I walked out of my rehearsal.”
Walsh, an actor-writer and Chicago native who got his start as a local improviser in the 1990s, is partnered with pro Koko Iwasaki.
“I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA,” Walsh continued. “Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at ‘DWTS’ who tolerated my dancing.”
“DWTS” is not breaking any SAG-AFTRA rules by proceeding with its season; the show, like other reality series, operates under a network code agreement that is not affected by the strike. But it usually employs one writer who belongs to the WGA, and for the new season “DWTS” is proceeding without that writer.
Writers picketed “DWTS” rehearsals last week. WGA negotiators were meeting Sunday with representatives of TV studios and streamers to work out a new contract and end the four-month strike.
Another of this season’s contestants, singer-actress Jamie Lynn Spears, previously pledged to donate her “DWTS” salary to the striking unions in a Sept. 12 Instagram post.
“if I’m able to use this unique opportunity to bring more awareness and to donate the salary I get for dancing each week back to the community who has given me so much, then it’s the least I can do,” she wrote. “I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared, but I’m just gonna have fun and hopefully be able to give back in a meaningful way until we can ALL GET BACK TO OUR DAY JOBS”
The show is scheduled air on ABC and stream on Disney+ and Hulu, after running exclusively on Disney+ last season. Julianne Hough, who has danced and been a judge on the series, replaces Tyra Banks as Alfonso Ribeiro’s cohost.
Read more at usatoday.com.