After a controversial season finale, ABC's reality competition Dancing with the Stars may be dancing away from the spotlight for a while. News of a potential hiatus came by way of one of the show's hosts, Tom Bergeron. When a fan expressed hopes for Dancing with the Stars to return in the spring, Bergeron responded, saying:
The possibility of Dancing with the Stars not returning for a spring season is a huge deal. The reality competition has had a consistent presence on both ABC's fall and midseason schedules for well over a decade. It may not have been the first unscripted series to pull that off, but it certainly helped to popularize it, with NBC's The Voice and others also utilizing the twice-a-year strategy.
Dancing with the Stars premiered in the summer of 2005 and returned the following January. Following its second season in 2006, the show has consecutively aired both spring and fall seasons. Hence, its number of cycles comes out to a little more than twice the number of years it has actually been on the air.
Beyond the spring delay noted in Tom Bergeron's Instagram response, things possibly get even more troubling for Dancing with the Stars' future. Not to borrow trouble, but he says, "hopefully in the fall." That wording could be a sign that even a Fall 2019 season may not be a done deal. All of this inspires the question: Why would ABC be wavering on the series' return?
Maybe the network is not eyeing a spring or even fall return for the popular dance fest for a reason. ABC and show producers could potentially choose to rework the series as a summer event. That would see the popular series going back to what initially worked for it at the beginning of its run.
Dancing with the Stars broke out as a summer event series in those early days. After only finding so much success, though, the move was made to make it a bi-annual primetime entry, ultimately welcoming numerous stars from all walks of life to compete on the series.
There is another possibility for the potential scheduling shake-up as well. Perhaps, ABC is taking a step back to reassess things following negative fan reactions to Season 27's controversial finale, as well as the voting process in general. The highly criticized season-ender saw the mirror ball trophy given to a shocking winner.
Even before the finale, Dancing with the Stars had already shocked viewers with a jaw-dropping elimination. The penultimate episode saw seeming front-runner Juan Pablo Di Pace eliminated before the finale. Di Pace ended the competition just shy of the final four. Throughout it all, viewer outcry has been swift and relentless.
Tom Bergeron doesn't look too worried in his post, though.
Looking far ahead, Dancing with the Stars may not even have a spot set for itself in the spring. ABC has that another reality competition theoretically ready to roll in American Idol. The former Fox series was revived by ABC this past spring and has been renewed for a seventeenth season, which is expected to debut in early 2019, so Dancing with the Stars' spring spot could be its premiere slot.
There is a Dancing with the Stars connection to American Idol. Season 27's winner, Bobby Bones, announced earlier in the season that he would be a full-time in-house mentor on American Idol's second ABC season. So, while you may not be seeing Dancing with the Stars in the spring, you may be seeing its latest winner.