EXCLUSIVE: “Dancing With the Stars” is looking to waltz into production in September as ABC and BBC Studios work through the health and safety protocols that will allow the competition format to light up the dance floor this year.
The show, which is based on the BBC format “Strictly Come Dancing,” is entering its 29th season with former “America’s Next Top Model” host Tyra Banks now hosting and exec producing.
In recent years, the series has traditionally aired around the middle of September, so the hope is that it won’t be too delayed by COVID-19. The show has been lined up for an 8-10 p.m. slot on Monday nights in ABC’s fall schedule.
However, sources close to ABC and BBC Studios warn that the schedule is fluid and continuously evolving with nothing set in stone as a result of the ongoing nature of the virus. These sources tell Deadline that they are still figuring out whether the show can go live.
It’s understood that the production team is actively working on and submitting its planned safety procedures to the unions and guilds, though it’s too early in the process to have full approval.
As expected, the show will observe all of the now-usual COVID-19 production guidelines such as social distancing, temperature checks and masks.
ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told Deadline that BBC Studios had taken lessons from other territories where the show is produced.
“I have seen the presentation from the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ producers on how we are planning to produce this show, post-COVID and with the health regulations in place because they have the advantage of making it in other territories and I am blown away by the ingenuity and the care which they are producing it,” she said. “We are bringing all of those innovations to the American broadcast. I’m really confident in their plan.”
Former “Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristowe is the first star lined up to waltz over to the show.
Banks replaces Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, who have left the show, and she will exec produce alongside Andrew Llinares.
This comes as a number of other entertainment shows start to get on their feet; Fremantle recently produced an episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in Simi Valley and ABC’s “Card Sharks” is back in production. Fox’s “MasterChef” is eyeing an October restart for its upcoming season.”
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