How 'Dancing With the Stars' Could Return to ABC

Dancing With the Stars does not have a spot on ABC's fall 2022 schedule, but it might not be completely missing from the network's plans. ABC Entertainment & Hulu Originals President Craig Erwich said it is possible that at least one episode of the show could air on the alphabet network towards the end of the season. DWTS Season 31 will stream live on Disney+, making fall 2022 the first time since 2005 that DWTS is completely missing from ABC's schedule.

ABC's Fall 2022 schedule will include Bachelor in Paradise taking over the Monday 8 p.m. ET timeslot DWTS has owned since 2007. New episodes of BiP will also air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, giving Bachelor Nation four hours of new content each week. The Monday episodes will lead into The Good Doctor, just as DWTS did, while Tuesday episodes will lead into The Rookie: Feds Season 1.

After unveiling the schedule, Erwich told Variety it was possible there could be a finale tie-in for DWTS. "What I can say is I think you'll see it be a key priority across all of the Disney ecosystems," Erwich said. "In the same way we focused the messaging on Abbott Elementary or the synergistic opportunities for the Oscars, I'm sure you'll see the same thing on Dancing With the Stars."

It's unclear what a "finale tie-in" would entail, but only airing the finale is a strange way to raise awareness of DWTS moving to Disney+. It would make more sense to air the season premiere on ABC, then tell viewers the rest of the season would only be available on the streaming platform. This strategy worked for Paramount, which aired the premiere of the Yellowstone spinoff 1883 on the linear Paramount Network before making the rest of the season only available on Paramount+. This idea worked out so well that Paramount plans to do the same to launch Tulsa King, a new series featuring Sylvester Stallone. The first episode will air on Paramount Network after Yellowstone Season 5 premieres in November, but the rest of the show will only be on Paramount's streamer.

After DWTS Season 30 ended, ABC and Disney announced in April that Season 31 would only be available on Disney+. Erwich told Variety BiP was the best replacement for DWTS because Bachelor fans are used to watching the series on Monday nights. This will be the first BiP season to air in the fall instead of the summer.

"Bachelor in Paradise has a very unique format in that it's such a big tent for so many characters and storylines that it... easily expands across connected programing," Erwich told Variety. "So even just creatively, which is obviously the most important consideration, we think that is going to be really fun for the viewers to have watched these things over the course of the two nights – and not just watch them, but talk about them. Bachelor in Paradise is one of our most social shows, in terms of conversation, people just love to watch, discuss, and then kind of watch again."