Did Sean Spicer’s Elimination Boost ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Ratings?

About halfway through Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars, the show’s judges began expressing the same frustration many fans had. In brief, they couldn’t believe Sean Spicer was still on the show while better dancers continued to be sent home.

To that point, the only thing that had kept Spicer in the competition was fan votes. His scores were always lower than the others, and it wasn’t particularly close. That brought everyone back to the big question: Why, exactly, did ABC decide to bring Spicer onto the show?

As far as anyone could tell, it was ABC’s desire to “stir the pot,” thereby boosting the show’s slumping ratings from the previous season. But that ratings bump never came. After the premiere, DWTS ratings fell in overall viewers and dropped even more in the 18-49 demographic.

When Spicer got eliminated on November 11, you might have wondered if that could bring some viewers back to the show. But that didn’t happen the following week.

‘DWTS’ ratings didn’t change much in the 1st week without Spicer

DANCING WITH THE STARS – Sean Spicer in Disney-themed costume | Eric McCandless via Getty Images

After 6.7 million viewers took in DWTS on Spicer’s elimination night, the numbers barely shifted the following week. According to Nielsen ratings posted by TV Series Finale, the November 18 airing had 6.6 million viewers, for an overall drop of 1.8%.

In the 18-49 demo, the change was only slightly more noticeable. Compared to the November 11 show’s 0.90 share, the first post-Spicer week scored a 0.80 rating in the demo. That was right in line with the average share for DWTS this season (0.84) in the demo.

At this point, with only the finals left to go in Season 28, it’s hard to see the numbers moving on any significant level. DWTS will likely end up losing 6-7% of its total audience (about 500,000 viewers per show) and about 10% of its audience in the 18-49 demo.

Will ‘DWTS’ producers go for politics again in Season 29?

Lindsay Arnold and Sean Spicer pose for a photo after the “Dancing With The Stars” Season 28 show at CBS Televison City on October 07, 2019. | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

With the finish line of this DWTS season in sight, it’s time for the show’s producers to think ahead to next year’s competition (assuming DWTS isn’t canceled). That will raise the question of how to cast celebrities for a potential Season 29.

If producers listen to the negative feedback coming from many fans, we can’t see ABC deciding to keep heading in this direction. (Wouldn’t a liberal political figure have to follow someone like Spicer? That would be the typical “both sides” pattern.)

As for fans who said they won’t watch the show anymore after Spicer’s casting, we’ll have to wait and see if they walk the walk. However, it’s clear Dancing With the Stars didn’t gain anything by choosing someone like Spicer. (Indeed, the network lost hundreds of thousands of viewers.)

With so many entertainment options at consumers’ fingertips — and DWTS growing older every year — choosing to alienate viewers wouldn’t seem like a great call for producers. But then again these are the people who thought bringing in Sean Spicer was a winning move.

Also see: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Judges Didn’t Hold Back on Sean Spicer’s Last Dances