DWTS producers reveal why casting ‘clickbait’ celebrities is necessary

Sean Spicer in a Dancing With the Stars confessional
Sean Spicer is one of many controversial casting additions for DWTS. Pic credit: ABC

Since Dancing With the Stars launched in 2005, it has featured some questionable celebrities, including Carole Baskin, Sean Spicer, and more we’d rather not think about.

Now, producers are opening up about why these “clickbait” names are necessary for the competition series.

During ABC’s part of the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday, EP Deena Katz said that the show needs “a little bit of that clickbait wow that gets people there.”

It makes sense. Specific names will generate headlines when their names are announced, as evidenced by both Baskin and Spicer’s castings.

Neither made it far into the competition, but it certainly got people talking about the show, and there’s also that curiosity factor about how well they fare in the process.

While that may be the case, Katz also stressed during the panel that there’s also the pressure to bring in new people the audiences may not be familiar with.

Lesser known cast members are crucial

Katz cited recent cast members like Harry Jowsey and Charity Lawson, who originated from reality TV.

While they may not have been as well known, she believes they picked up some fans as the series progressed.

We can relate to that. When the casting news for each season is announced, there’s always that element of “who is this person?” about some of the names.

But it seems they’re all there for a reason, and that reason is that they have a story to tell to the audience.

Cast members without a story don’t perform well

Without a story, it’s hard for the audience to form an attachment to the contestants, so it makes sense, but it doesn’t get away from certain people being cast who shouldn’t be there.

Many people added to the cast as “clickbait” lack the dancing ability and the fans to make a meaningful impact on the competition, so it feels like they’re merely there to get the audience talking and raise awareness for the show.

If it works, it works, but maybe the show should consider switching things up with the format to keep these people in for longer to show improvement because, at this point, these big names generally get eliminated in the first few weeks.

The lesser-known stars — like Jowsey — tend to make it further because they win over the audience because of what may be fewer expectations put on them.

Dancing With the Stars Season 33 has been confirmed

ABC has already picked up Dancing with the Stars for Season 33 to air later this year, but no details about the cast have been revealed.

We shouldn’t expect any updates until late summer because the show isn’t on track to return until the fall, alongside The Golden Bachelorette.

In other DWTS news, Julianne Hough revealed over the weekend she would no longer be able to appear in the upcoming Dancing With the Stars tour.

Sadly, other commitments have prevented her from proceeding as planned.

Meanwhile, if you’re craving more dancing, veteran pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy has been announced as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance Season 18.

Dancing With the Stars is currently on hiatus at ABC. It is expected to return in the fall.

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