Lifetime's hit reality series Dance Moms has given viewers a window into the world of instructor Abby Lee Miller as she pulls out all the stops to try and prepare young dancers for the glitz and glamor of showbiz competition. The show almost certainly wouldn't have lasted for seven seasons so far if not for the larger-than-life personality of Miller. Unfortunately for Lifetime, Miller has been caught up in a legal battle that may send her to jail, and the question has been of how much the show may be impacted by the scandal. Now, the hearing that would have determined her sentence has been pushed back, and Dance Moms may need to scramble its schedule moving forward.
Abby Lee Miller was indicted on multiple counts of fraud back in 2015 after the discovery of major financial discrepancies in her income and what she reported on her taxes. She had filed for bankruptcy in 2010 so that she could reorganize her dance studio and recover from over $400,000 in debt, and all was going well for her...until the judge on her bankruptcy case happened to catch an episode of Dance Moms and realized that she had to have some income that she wasn't reporting. After years of court battles, Miller finally pled guilty on some of the charges in exchange for a plea deal. A hearing was scheduled for February 24 to determine her sentence, but Deadline reports that it has been pushed back indefinitely.
The future of Dance Moms may depend entirely on when Abby Lee Miller's sentencing hearing is rescheduled. The two-part winter finale of Dance Moms Season 7 aired on February 21, and a number of clips featured folks wondering what was going to happen to Miller if and when she was sent to prison. The second half of Season 7 is already filming, so any plans for coverage of the aftermath of Miller's sentence will have to be scrapped. Good news for Miller, but not-so-good news for any execs who were hoping for some juicy material in the second half of Season 7 after she was sent to the big house.
If the hearing is moved to a point in the year after Season 7 has finished but before Season 8 has begun, Lifetime could simply delay the new season until Abby Lee Miller has served her time. The maximum sentence for her guilty plea is two and a half years, but Miller's attorney are obviously planning to ask for a less severe ruling. If she is only sent away for a matter of months, the network might feel more comfortable simply putting off Season 8 for a bit. After all, what's Dance Moms without Abby Lee Miller?
That said, if Abby Lee Miller's hearing is scheduled before the end of Season 7 or after Season 8 has begun, Dance Moms could be in a lot of trouble. Miller is central to many of the show's stories and causes a lot of the drama; suddenly removing her from the equation could be ruinous to an entire season. We'll have to wait and see.
Of course, Dance Moms hasn't even been officially renewed for a Season 8 at this point, so it's possible that the show won't be back at all after Season 7, Abby Lee Miller or no Abby Lee Miller. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest news in renewals and cancellations, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what you can watch while you wait for the second half of Dance Moms Season 7.