Dancing With the Stars Season 29 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting yet! As the ABC dance competition prepares to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, there have been plenty of changes with how the show will run come the season premiere that will set it apart from all 28 of its previous seasons.
From a shake-up in the cast of professional dancers to a new host and a whole new set of safety rules, the DWTS ballroom will be a totally different setting for fans and competitors alike. Keep scrolling to see everything we know so far about the historic season to come.
Dancing With the Stars Season 29 is coming soon to ABC, premiering Monday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, kicking things off with a two-hour premiere filled with fancy footwork and family fun. Despite all the production challenges facing shows amid the coronavirus pandemic, the network has been able to keep its mid-September premiere timeline in tact, although production details have yet to be announced.prevnext
The list of professional dancers returning for Season 29 is filled with fan favorites. Sasha Farber, Pasha Pashkov, Jenna Johnson, Emma Slater, Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Val Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd, Gleb Savchenko, Cheryl Burke and Keo Motsepe will all be returning for another season. Also making her way back into the ballroom will be Sharna Burgess, who was shockingly not asked to return for Season 28, despite winning the Mirrorball Trophy with Bobby Bones the year prior.prevnext
There are some new faces making their way into the spotlight as well. Britt Stewart, 30, has made history on DWTS already as the first Black female dancer to have a full-time role in the show when she joined the troupe in Season 23. Daniella Karagach, 27, performed as part of the troupe last season, and is the wife of fellow pro Pashkov.
Both women couldn't hold back their excitement when they were finally allowed to let their new pro status slip Tuesday.
It’s actually happening!!! I am over the moon to be a first time PRO on Season 29 of @DancingABC ✨✨ My heart is filled with gratitude to have been given this opportunity. I can hardly contain my excitement to step into this new position ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/FKUCRidFhL— Britt Stewart (@BrittBStewart) August 18, 2020
Feeling blessed to be a professional dancer on such an incredible and iconic show. Words will never describe how I feel right now. I’m overwhelmed with joy and excitement!!! I can’t wait to meet my celebrity partner and to start this fun journey!!!! So much love to you all! https://t.co/yx0kmfmQi3— Daniella Karagach (@DKaragach) August 18, 2020
Two of viewers' favorite pros will not be returning, but with good reason. Witney Carson, who reached the finals in Season 28 alongside Kel Mitchell, and Lindsay Arnold, who danced alongside controversial contestant Sean Spicer, are both expecting their first children, and will be taking the season off for their pregnancies.
"We had quite a few conversations about that, and I just don't think it's ultimately safe for me to participate. So I will not be joining this season," Carson told Entertainment Tonight. "It's just so hard with COVID-19, we don't really know what's happening there. And I'd be pretty big. I'd be about 24 weeks, which is, like, I'd have a belly."prevnext
While the full lineup of stars has yet to be announced, we do know one of the celebrity contestants who will be lacing up their dancing shoes. Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe was announced to be the first contestant during her The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever! special in June. Bristowe told Entertainment Tonight her favorite pro in the running this season is Savchenko, but added she would be thrilled at any pairing. "I'll be happy with whoever they partner me with. I just feel like they're all incredible," she said. "They have to be on that show. So, my [new] dream partner could be just whoever they put me with."prevnext
As coronavirus necessitates social distancing measures, Dancing With the Stars will look a little different on- and off-screen. While it's unlikely there will be a live audience watching the couples perform, the real-life couples of the show will face a much more stringent safety procedure.
The three married couples cast this year — Chmerkovskiy and wife Johnson, Slater and husband Farber and Pashkov and wife Karagach — will have to temporarily live apart, ABC reported, which is in an attempt to reduce the number of people each contestant will be exposed to during practice and on set.
In July, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told Deadline that BBC Studios was taking notes from other countries that are currently putting on DWTS. "I have seen the presentation from the Dancing With the Stars producers on how we are planning to produce this show, post-COVID and with the health regulations in place because they have the advantage of making it in other territories and I am blown away by the ingenuity and the care which they are producing it," Burke said. "We are bringing all of those innovations to the American broadcast. I'm really confident in their plan."prevnext
This season will look different from the hosting side as well, as it will be the first since longtime co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews were replaced by supermodel and America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks, who said on Good Morning America last month that the season would be "next-level" and "different" from those past.
"As we embark on a new creative direction, [Bergeron] departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success. Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom," ABC said in a statement last month. "Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show."prev