ABC/Dancing With The Stars
Sources claim that the reality dancing competition is considering postponing its Season 32 premiere, currently slated for September 26, after actor Matt Walsh opted to “pause” his involvement with the show.
“I am taking a pause from Dancing With the Stars until an agreement is made with the WGA [Writers Guild of America]. 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 said. “I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA. 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.”
While Dancing With the Stars only staffs one WGA writer, it causes the entire show to be covered by the WGA. Picket lines were set up outside the dancing studios with Walsh’s name, along with actresses and current DWTS celebrity cast members Mira Sorvino and Alyson Hannigan, displayed on signs.
On Thursday (September 22), SAG-AFTRA issued a statement saying that their members performing on Dancing With the Stars are not violating any strike rules and are, in fact, legally required to compete due to contract obligations.
“Our members appearing on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ are working under the Network Code agreement, which is a non-struck contract. They are required to go to work, are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules, and we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “The majority of our members on Dancing With the Stars had contractual obligations to the show prior to the strike. Many are under option agreements that require them to return to the show if the producer exercises their option which the producer has done.”
Current cast members on Dancing With the Stars that are members of SAG-AFTRA include hosts Julianne Hough and Alfonso Ribeiro, judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli, all of the professional dancers and some of the celebrity dancers, including Jamie Lynn Spears, Barry Williams, Ariana Madix and Xochitl Gomez in addition to the aforementioned Matt Walsh, Alyson Hannigan and Mira Sorvino.
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Despite the encouragement from SAG-AFTRA to compete, it is possible that other cast members will walk away from the show in solidarity with those in the industry who are participating in the strike. If Dancing With the Stars loses any more cast members, they will likely be forced to delay production because without a cast, there is no show.