Hit ABC Show May Be Delayed as Celebrity Contestant Leaves and Strikers Picket Studio

Dancing with the Stars possible delay
Credit: ABC

For nearly 150 days, Hollywood’s writers have been on the picket lines. The Writers Guild of America announced on May 2, that its 11,000 members were on strike. Then, just 2 months later, the writers were joined by the more than 160,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild. Two of Hollywood’s biggest unions were teaming up as they fought for protections against artificial intelligence, a raise in residual pay, and more transparency in streaming platform numbers.

Writers Strike

Credit: Eric Appel, Flickr

RelatedWGA Meets With Producers for Final Meeting

With a majority of actors and writers being on strike, most of Hollywood’s film and television productions have shut down. However, there are certain groups that are under different comments and can continue to work. Those are actors who work on talk shows, soap operas, and game shows. Many of those shows have decided to pause production as their stars stand in solidarity with SAG and the WGA.

Meredith Stiehm, left, president of Writers Guild of America West, and Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA

Credit: Herman de Keyperling, Flickr

One show that has decided to pick up filming is Dancing with the Stars. The show — which is in its 32nd season — revealed its celebrity cast on Good Morning America on September 13.

Just days later, the show was inundated with big changes — a celebrity contestant walked away and protestors showed up outside the studio.

DWTS Fans Outraged Adrian Peterson

Credit: ABC

Related: Dancing with the Stars Host Leaving After 3 Seasons

Actor Matt Walsh —  best known for his role as Mike McLintock on Veep — announced that he would be “pausing” his involvement with the show. Walsh said that, when he joined the show, he was under the assumption that the show’s writers were not a part of the WGA. When he learned that they were, he decided to step away in solidarity.

Matt Walsh Veep

Credit: HBO

Walsh released the following statement.

“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. I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA [Directors Guild of America].

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.”

Matt Walsh Dancing with the Stars

Credit: ABC

Related: Dancing with the Stars Judge Len Goodman Dead at 78

If losing a contestant before the show even started wasn’t bad enough, picketers have been in front of the rehearsal studio all week. The protestors have been calling out specific contestants, including Walsh. They have also called out Alyson Hannigan and Mira Sorvino, who are both members of SAG. Since DWTS falls under a different contract — a Network Code contract — Hannigan and Sorvino aren’t technically breaking the rules.

Mira Sorvino Alyson Hannigan Dancing with the Stars

Credit: ABC

Dancing with the Stars is set to premiere on ABC on Tuesday, September 26. However, there is a chance that the show may see its premiere pushed back. Sources are reporting that ABC — which is owned by Disney — is considering pushing back the premiere date because of all the backlash they are getting.

An Already Controversial Season

Even before the picketers ended up in front of the rehearsal studio and Matt Walsh walked away, season 32 of Dancing with the Stars was already dealing with its fair share of drama.

Len Goodman Dancing With the Stars

Credit: ABC

Related: Mogul Offers Disney $10 BILLION For ABC

One of the celebrity contestants in the upcoming season is former NFL player Adrian Peterson. Peterson’s casting has caused ABC to receive a lot of backlash. Peterson has been arrested multiple times for both domestic violence and child abuse. The former athlete pleaded guilty to child abuse, and his wife declined to press charges for domestic abuse.

Recently, Peterson admitted that, despite being convicted of child abuse, he still used a belt to hit his children.

Adrian Peterson Dancing with the Stars

Credit: ABC

Fans of the show are demanding that ABC fire Peterson and replace him with someone who has not been arrested and found guilty of such heinous charges. ABC has not responded to its choice to bring Peterson on board.

ABC has not officially commented on Walsh’s departure, the premiere date, or Peterson’s casting. This new season of DWTS will see the return of host Alfonso Ribeiro, as well as new host – and former pro – Julianne Hough. The judging will be done by Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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