Dancing With the Stars may look a bit different when it returns for Season 28, ABC says. The network's entertainment president Karey Burke recently told reporters that there were "format changes" coming after last fall's controversial competition. However, the spirit of the show will remain the same.
Burke talked about the changes to Dancing With the Stars last week at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. According to a report by TV Line, she talked about "tweaks" to the format, bringing the art of dancing itself more to the forefront.
“It’s about [shifting] the focus of the show to really focus on it being a celebration of dance, and also focusing on the celebrities," Burk said.
Burke wanted to see Dancing With the Stars "leaning into its strengths" in the upcoming season, hoping to solidify its position as "the most entertaining show on television."
Dancing With the Stars is one of ABC's most popular shows, and has been a staple of its lineup since 2005. The show typically runs two separate competitions — one in the fall TV season and one in the spring. This year, however, ABC skipped the spring cycle altogether for the first time since the show launched.
This was presumably because of fan outrage over the fall cycle. At the end of 2018, several frontrunners on the show with high scores from their performances lost out to radio DJ Bobby Bones, a figure not everyone was a huge fan of. Meanwhile, the attempted spinoff Dancing With the Stars: Juniors put up lackluster ratings at the same time.
This was the first time Burke mentioned "format changes" for the long-running series. At the time, Burke had just taken over as the new ABC's entertainment president. She replaced Channing Dungey, the first African-American ever to be the head of a U.S. broadcast network, and she had big shoes to fill.
The shake-up in the staff was likely related to the Disney-Fox merger. At the time, Disney was taking stock of its new acquisition and preparing to merge its various brands and outlets for maximum synergy. Burke was formerly the head of original programming for Disney's Freeform, so it made sense that the company put its own in the top spot at ABC.
After almost a year of planning, fans will get their first look at Burke's new ABC this fall. Hopefully all changes are for the better.
Dancing With the Stars Season 28 premieres on Sept. 16, 2019.