‘Dancing With the Stars’: How Casting Works on the Show

Dancing With the Stars features a range of celebrities in any given season. From movie stars to singers, athletes, radio personalities, and Netflix figures, fans are always surprised to see who gets cast to dance in the ballroom. Many DWTS fans wonder how the showrunners decide who to cast in any given season. A Dancing With the Stars co-executive producer explains. 

'Dancing With the Stars' ballroom
The ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Ballroom | Eric McCandless via Getty Images

The ‘Dancing With the Stars’ cast is anything but random 

According to co-executive producer Deena Katz, casting Dancing With the Stars is like the “best dinner party you will ever have.” In other words, the show brings together some unlikely people fans would have never thought to put on the same cast. “You want stars from all different parts and genres because you don’t want only to win [one] market,” she explained to CinemaBlendDWTS is all about capturing a vast audience of viewers from all age groups, ethnicities, and socio-economic classes. “We want to hit everything, so we try to have a little bit of everything,” Katz added. For her, it’s about finding celebrities that transcend multiple audiences. 

‘Dancing With the Stars’ will cast celebrities who are perceived negatively in the public eye 

Casting DWTS is about finding a balance between those celebrities that transcend and those who may not have the best public opinion. Behind the scenes, casting directors are always on the lookout for celebrities who can win over viewers in any given season. In season 29, that was Tiger King‘s Carole Baskin. Before that, in season 28, it was political aide Sean Spicer. Ultimately, Katz’s goal is to get fans to tune into the show because they can’t wait to see one or two of the contestants, but end up falling in love with people they might not have been aware of or had a bad perspective of previously. 

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“It’s trying to find a little something for everyone and, yet, trying to find people that cross over a little more,” she said. “It really is not only getting you to watch a show but bringing you people that we know you will fall in love [with] when you watch their journey.”

How does ‘DWTS’ pick which pro dancer gets partnered with which celebrity? 

Once they find a cast, it becomes about pairing the celebrities with their pro dance partners. Height is one of the main factors when it comes to partnering celebrities with the pros. “[There are] some basic ideas of height to make sure that everybody has the best chance,” Katz said. Ironically, it’s more about the celebrity’s personality and who they’re going to jive with best — pun intended. 

Sometimes, it’s about giving the pros a chance to show fans another side of themselves. “For some of our pros, like Cheryl Burke, [we want to give the audience] something new from [the] dancer as well as the celebrities.” Casting meets with each celebrity to find the best partnerships possible. “I meet every single one of them because I want every single partnership to shine,” Katz said. 

‘Dancing With the Stars’ cast for season 30

DWTS has yet to be renewed for another season. Rumors have swirled about The Bachelorette star Tayshia Adams wanting a shot at the Mirror Ball. Hilaria Baldwin is another star rumored to be in talks for the next season of Dancing With the Stars. But at this time, they’re just that — rumors. If and when the show does get renewed, the new season won’t likely air until the fall of 2021.