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TCA 2012: ABC Has No News on Modern Family, But Bristol Palin for DWTS

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Adam Larkey / ABC via AP

As TV critics waited for ABC’s Friday executive presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour, the big question was if the contentious Modern Family salary battle would be resolved in time for ABC chief Paul Lee to face the press. Friday morning, he came out on stage and announced…

“I expect the season to start on time, and we’re in the middle of negotiations… We’re optimistic.”

All right, then. Lee would not even cop to having a backup plan should the cast of TV’s hit sitcom not be willing to start shooting a new season. (I’m sure ABC’s executives have never discussed such a thing!) But he did come with a bit of news to toss to waiting reporters: the cast of the all-star edition of Dancing With the Stars.

The list of stars, or “stars,” follows, but the most attention-getting name was Bristol Palin, who continues the Kardashi-ation of Alaska’s first family. (Her dad Todd is already signed up for NBC‘s Stars Earn Stripes this fall.) Because you know, otherwise this would probably be a really slow fall for over-the-top politicized controversies in the media.

And, look, it did the job: Bristol got by far the most questions of any of her castmates when ABC brought out the new DWTS cast. First, she was asked about her opinion of gays, considering that Life’s a Tripp so far involved her getting in a run-in with a gay man in Los Angeles, and her son’s possibly saying a (bleeped) gay slur on camera. “I like gays, and I’m sick of people saying that I’m a homophobic,” Palin answered. “Just because I’m for traditional marriage doesn’t mean I’m scared of anybody. I don’t hate anybody.”

Later, Palin was asked about the past reason she gave for doing DWTS before, as well as Life’s a Tripp, with her sister and three-year-old son: that she does reality shows because the media would obsess about her regardless. Couldn’t she have just gone to have a private life in Alaska? Did the media really make her do reality shows? “I couldn’t tell you what would have happened,” she began. “This is a fun gig. I’m not complaining about anything. You guys, and I do mean the media, are going to talk about me whether I’m in my little life in Alaska or in LA.”

So: no, but yes. To be fair, I cannot say either whether the media would be able to ignore Bristol Palin if she stopped doing reality TV. And it looks like we may never find out.

The (abbreviated) cast announcement for DWTS follows:

“Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” marks the first time prior contestants will return for another chance at winning the coveted mirror ball trophy for a very special All-Star season. From former champions to fan favorites, including a celebrity voted in by fans, the stars will return and will be paired with some of the world’s most decorated professional ballroom dancers for the most unforgettable season yet. Week to week these “Dancing with the Stars” alumni will once again compete to impress the judges and the viewers at home in order to be crowned the mirror ball champions.

In a show first, fans will determine who the final All-Star cast member will be. The three celebrities vying to fill the 13th spot on the cast are Sabrina Bryan, Carson Kressley and Kyle Massey. Fans can vote for their favorite “Viewers’ Choice: All-Star” at www.ABC.com/DancingwiththeStars, presented by Diet Pepsi, starting today, Friday, July 27 at 10:30 a.m., PT through Friday, August 24 at 12:00 p.m., PT, to determine which of the three celebrities will be named the final All-Star contestant. Once voting has closed, the final cast member will be announced live on “Good Morning America,” on Monday, August 27.

The All-Star cast and their professional partners will take to the stage for the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,” MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) followed by the premiere of “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

As announced today, the 12 out of 13 All-Star celebrities returning to the dance floor this season are:













As announced, the three celebrity alumnus competing to be the “Viewer’s Choice: All-Star” are:

SABRINA BRYAN — Sabrina Bryan was a member of the multi-platinum recording act, The Cheetah Girls, as well as a star of the hugely successful Disney Channel movie of the same name as Dorinda.

CARSON KRESSLEY — Emmy-winning television star, celebrity stylist, author and fashion designer Carson Kressley is out to make over the world.

KYLE MASSEY — Although only 20 years old, Kyle Massey is already an industry veteran. A near champion on Season 11 of “Dancing with the Stars,” he finished second with his partner, Lacey Schwimmer. Massey is most known for his acting role as Cory Baxter on the Disney Channel’s No. 1 hit sitcom, “Cory in the House.”

The three contestants competing to be the “Viewers’ Choice: All-Star” will kick-off their campaign with their first television interview live in-studio on “Good Morning America,” Monday, July 30.