The new cast of Dancing with the Stars was announced this morning by series hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvat. While ardent DWTS fans can instantly diagram the cast of a typical Dancing With the Stars season — an older actor, current/former athletes, a Disney star, a reality-show personality, a comic and a where-are-they-now type — this season’s show (the 17th!) manages to have some surprises.
Bill Nye the Science Guy (pictured, right), for example. And 74-year old actress Valerie Harper, beloved for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year.
Joining the bow-tied science celebrity and Harper are Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (reality star), NFL player Keyshawn Johnson (former athlete), Corbin Bleu (Disney star), and Bill Engvall (comic). In the role of the where-are-they-now contestant is King of Queens star and recent Scientology refugee, Leah Remini.
Each contestant will be paired with the one of the show’s professional dancers as they vie for a shot at taking home the “coveted” mirrorball trophy this season.Rounding out the cast of stars are TV personality Jack Osbourne (that’s Ozzy’s son) who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, singer Christina Milan, Glee star Amber Riley (Mercedes), Pretty Little Liars’ Brant Daugherty, and Saved by the Bell’s Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (who can put some of her Showgirls moves to work).
“I feel like it’s one of the best (fields) we’ve had in years. Every single person justifies their place,” executive producer Conrad Green told USA Today of the new group of stars.
The new season kicks off with a two-hour premiere on Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 /7 CT on ABC. For the first season ever, the show will air just one night a week, combining the performance and results show into one two-hour program, which will air on Monday nights.