Dancing With the Stars Season 31 premieres on Monday as a streaming exclusive rather than a broadcast show, which will ultimately be good news for co-host Tyra Banks. Banks has often been criticized for rushing the endings of episodes and cutting segments short, but the new streaming format will afford her a much longer runtime and new freedoms. Executive producer Conrad Green explained these changes in an interview with Variety.
Dancing With the Stars will now air exclusively on Disney+ rather than ABC – a historic move for a competition series of this kind. It will reportedly remain a two-hour-long program but it will not have commercial breaks built into it, meaning that the producers can literally run a two-hour show rather than allotting a few minutes here and there for ads. This alone might have solved the problem of the rushed endings in recent seasons, but the streaming format also comes with flexibility. Green said that the show can now run a little long by a few minutes at producers' discretion and it won't be the end of the world.
"We don't want to go over two hours because we think two hours is a lot of TV to watch," he said. "So we're trying to make that our top limit. I think that'll be quite tight and quite fast in the early episodes, certainly the first episode. But after that, there will be more time and we can drop down to 10 minutes, 15 minutes under if we need to. As the show develops across the season, we can let it breathe a little bit more. We don't have to be quite as stressed about rushing judges in their comments or rushing Alfonso and his chats backstage."
While Green didn't call her out specifically, fans will likely realize what a relief this is for Banks. She has hosted the show on her own for the last two years, and she has been called out on social media a few times for speeding through what could have been emotionally charged moments. Just last year, she was criticized for cutting off contestant Jimmie Allen while he was trying to make an on-air tribute to his late grandmother.
The year before that, contestant Carole Baskin called out Banks herself for creating an "awkward moment" near the end of one of her episodes. She said that Banks did not give her a lot of time to respond to a question, creating a bizarre silence on the live broadcast.
With its new format, Dancing With the Stars will still maintain a 5-second delay to ensure that editors can cut off anything vulgar or inappropriate for the family-friendly crowd. Dancing With the Stars Season 31 premieres on Monday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET only on Disney+.