After last season’s Dancing with the Stars All-Stars season ratings failure, the series bosses are looking for ways to boost viewership. While the less than stellar numbers were partially due to seemingly irresistible draw The Voice holds for Dancing with the Stars key demographics, executive producer Conrad Green also feels it was because fans were not as entertained by the all-stars.
"Perhaps that was a miscalculation on our part. Maybe we underestimated how important it was to have a new story rather than a continuation of one," Green says. "We thought seeing old favorites come back would be really appealing, and I think it was to core fans of the show. All-Stars did deliver in terms of being able to try some new dances out, new challenges and really pushing the level of competition. I think what it lacked was the shock of the new.”
The upcoming 16th season of Dancing with the Stars will be all about bringing in new, fresh faces and getting the show back to basics according to Green. "So it's quite nice this season to go back to fresh faces, people completely unfamiliar with dance and get back to that kind of innocence. It's back to basics almost. There's definitely a vibrancy and energy and excitement that comes with feeling like we're back on our usual course."
The twelve new stars lacing up their dancing shoes for season 16 include Olympic champions Aly Raisman and Dorothy Hamill, comedians Andy Dick and D.L. Hughley, country singer Wynonna Judd, Idol alum Kellie Pickler, Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump, Bachelor Sean Lowe and Shake It Up star Zendaya Coleman (who is the shoes youngest contestant ever at 16 years old). “It all starts with the cast and I think we've got a great one,” says Green. “It's one of our youngest ever. I think half of them are around the age of 25. That mixed with our older stars from their fields is a great cocktail."
In an effort to add even more new faces to the show three new pros have been cast. Lindsay Arnold from So You Think You Can Dance, Sharna Burgess and Gleb Savchenko. "New blood is so important," Green says. "The people who are your favorites now are only your favorites because they were introduced years ago. As always, that doesn't mean our old pros won't be considered in the future, but we want to be bring people through and we've been looking at Lindsay, Gleb and Sharna for a while. We want them to be your favorite’s years from now. They all bring something unique to the table."
The show will also be introducing two new styles this season, contemporary and jazz. "You have to keep trying new things to keep it fresh," Green says. "That's one of the consequences of being on for almost eight years. We're going to hit our 300th episode this season ... on Week 10, the semifinals. So if you've watched from the beginning, you've seen a hell of a lot of cha-chas and foxtrots!"
Will you be tuning in for the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars?