Umm, More Like Scabbing With the Stars!

'Dancing With the Stars' is a WGA-covered show but the reality dance competition is still planning to return amidst the ongoing strike.

Umm, More Like Scabbing With the Stars!
Hosts of DWTS, Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough. Image:ABC/Art Streiber

As the writers’ strike enters its 141st day, a number of talk and reality shows have unfortunately announced, over the last few weeks, their plans to defy the strike and return to air. Many of those shows—The Drew Barrymore Show, whatever Bill Maher does on TV, and The Jennifer Hudson Show—have quickly backtracked after receiving appropriate backlash and/or picketing for scabbing. However, as of right now, it doesn’t seem like Dancing With the Stars will trot back their decision to premiere their 32nd season on Tuesday, September 26th. How very The View of them (another show violating the strike…).

While only one writer works on the show, that does mean that they are covered by the WGA, so returning to air will be in defiance of the strike. “Everyone’s focus is to keep 500 people employed,” a source told Variety, referring to the show’s large non-WGA crew.


There are also a number of contestants who are members of SAG-AFTRA, including Alyson Hannigan, Jamie Lynn Spears, Barry Williams, Matt Walsh, Mira Sorvino, Ariana Madix, and Xochitl Gomez. DWTS is not in violation of the SAG-AFTRA strike, but specific pre-filmed segments that reflect on contestants’ past and present film and television projects won’t be aired this season so as not to violate strike rules.

But WGA West board member and Law & Order writer David Slack tweeted at contestants, asking them to reconsider their decision. “By appearing on a WGA-covered show using scab writing, anyone appearing on Dancing with the Stars will be emboldening the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] to refuse to make deals while they wait to see if scab writing works,” he wrote. Spears is donating her salary from the show to striking writers and actors which is nice but perhaps not even participating would be nicer!

In a statement provided to Jezebel, a WGA spokesperson succinctly said, “The Guild has picketed and will continue to picket struck shows that are in production during the strike.”

“I think they should hold tight. I think we need to stand as one. We need to unite for real and not just say we’re united,” Cheryl Burke, a professional dancer who appeared on seasons two through 31 of the show told Variety. (Burke left because the show allegedly wouldn’t promote her to a judge or host role.) I agree, Cheryl! There’s truly no fox-trotting your way around the logic of this one—don’t scab.

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