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Most big reality competition shows peak in the ratings at some point, leading the program creators to run around like chickens with their heads cut off, figuring out increasingly gimmicky antics to keep people tuning in for their shows. It happened to American Idol. It happened to Survivor, The Amazing Race and Top Chef. As far as gimmicks go, hiring on Julianne Hough to judge on Dancing with the Stars isn’t the worst thing we’ve ever seen.
This week, rumors surfaced that Hough might be returning to the series that made her famous as a judge, rather than as a competitor. On Thursday, ABC finally announced that Hough will definitely be a major part of Season 19 of Dancing with the Stars. She’ll shake up a lineup of judges that have been together from the very beginning by joining Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli on the stage. Since she will be joining the series as a fourth judge, she could also change the scoring margins up considerably. It’s easy to see why ABC would jump at the chance to bring back the pretty, popular, young actress and dancer, but it’s also a sign that Dancing with the Stars is no longer as young as it used to be.
Dancing with the Stars is not a show that is immune to making changes. Over the course of 18 seasons, the reality competition series has changed up its format on several occasions. The biggest example of this is probably the All-Stars format the show concocted for Season 15. However, there have been plenty of other changes, including trying fractional scores, new voting formats, cutting Brooke Burke-Charvet in favor of Erin Andrews and getting rid of the weekly results show in order to save ratings. Some of these changes have worked more favorably than others. Regardless, they all prove the show is willing to make small changes in order to avoid becoming stagnant.
Hough has the skill sets and onscreen presence to make a good judge on Dancing with the Stars, and she even has a little bit of experience in that department, having guest-judged on the show in the past. Even if she does prove to be a good fit for the series, I have trouble seeing her addition making a long-term impact on the ratings. She's no J-Lo, for sure. But I'm also not sure what other ideas ABC could possibly have for Dancing with the Stars at this point, either, so there's certainly no harm in giving her a shot.
The announcement about Hough’s addition to the series for Season 19 comes none too soon. The dancers for Season 19 have already been announced and will be as follows: Mark Ballas, Cheryl Burke, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Allison Holker, Derek Hough, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater and Karina Smirnoff. Additionally, ABC is gearing up to announce the contestants for the new season and will be doing so in just a couple of weeks. The announcement will be made on Good Morning America on September 4 at 7 a.m. ET. Dancing with the Stars itself will premiere on September 15 at 8 p.m. ET.