“Dancing with the Stars” is hoping the show can still go on.
Season 32 of ABC’s competition series is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 26, but has been mulling a delay after contestant Matt Walsh paused his involvement amid the continued WGA strike.
A source close to production told Access Hollywood on Friday that the “Veep” actor “will not be replaced” if “DWTS” continues on schedule, adding that the show is “still optimistic” the premiere can air as planned.
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Walsh is a member of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA and announced on his Instagram story earlier this week that he stepped away from “DWTS” after learning that it qualifies as a struck show under the writers’ union guidelines.
“I am taking a pause from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ until an agreement is made with the WGA,” Walsh wrote, noting that he “walked out” of his rehearsal. “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.”
“DWTS” employs one WGA writer among its staff of 500, reportedly to provide talking points for the hosts while the show remains mostly unscripted. Access’ source said that writer will be hired back once the strike is over and that right now, “everyone’s focus is to keep 500 people employed.”
Meanwhile, SAG-AFTRA has backed all the performers appearing on the show and explained in a statement to Access why the actors’ union has different requirements in this case than the writers’ guild does.
“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,” the statement read in part.
As Access previously reported, a source close to production said earlier this week that “DWTS” was “preparing to postpone” the upcoming season due to “rising pressure talent is receiving” amid the continued WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which have been going on for several months.
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