For as much drama that happens during a season of any given reality TV show, the most scandalous incidents can often occur when the cameras aren't rolling. And it's unclear how long the cameras will be rolling on the Lifetime series Dance Moms now that star Abby Lee Miller could be facing some major jail time after pleading guilty earlier today for some of the money-related charges she was indicted on last year. Could the as-yet-unfinished Season 6 be the show's last?
That question will depend on how the sentencing process goes on October 11, since there's the very real possibility that Abby Lee Miller could face between 24 and 30 months in jail, making her current standing as a reality TV mainstay a little harder to maintain. It's unclear how Lifetime would react to not having the ringleader of Dance Moms around for years, and whether the network would choose to cancel the show outright, continue with another dance studio at the center, or possibly delay the next season's production. Regardless of which scenario happens, one has to assume that Lifetime would want some kind of special produced for whenever Miller's release would happen, since the show is a big hit there.
The situation may not be so dire, however. Miller's lawyers are pushing to get the maximum sentence to cap off at six months, according to Deadline. While still not a great experience for Abby Lee Miller, it would at least only keep her away from her normal life for a more temporary span of time, which would allow for Season 7 to happen without any particularly lengthy hiatuses. That's assuming that her Abby Lee Dance Company (either location) would survive its namesake being out of the picture for any amount of time.
Miller was indicted last year for fraud, and she was charged with hiding large chunks of her income from the show, as well as with bankruptcy fraud, as she'd declared bankruptcy some years back while owing the IRS a ton of money. At the time, she could have potentially faced five years in prison and around $5 million in fines, and though she plead not guilty last November, she'd since reached a plea deal with investigators that resulted in the charges she was slapped with today. Those were coupled with a new charge of violating currency reporting laws, as Miller had allegedly had her employees sneaking over $120,000 from Australia into the U.S. in their luggage.
This isn't the first time that Miller has been in the middle of a Dance Moms-related snafu. Years ago, there was a lawsuit that popped up involving a physical altercation between Miller and show mom Kelly Hyland, which produced claims that the production company was intentionally staging conflicts between the cast. That's all in the past, but Miller is following in a long line of reality TV show personalities whose personal lives derail things.
Dance Moms is set to return to Lifetime for the remainder of Season 6 at some point this fall.