ABC on Tuesday announced more than just the pro dancers set to take the stage for season 29 of Dancing With the Stars. As the cast for the upcoming season begins to take shape, the network revealed a new rule that will prevent married pros from living together throughout the season.
In Season 29, there will be three married couples competing against each other – Valentin Chmerkovskiy and wife Jenna Johnson, Emma Slater and husband Sasha Farber and Pasha Pashkov and wife Daniella Karagach, who is new to the dancing competition. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these dancers will have to temporarily part ways and live apart. According to ABC News, this new rule is an effort to hopefully thwart the impact the pandemic could potentially have on the show by preventing the eliminations of two pros and their celebrity partners should one get sick throughout the season.
The rule marks likely just one of numerous changes set to take place on the set of the beloved series. As productions on films and series resumes, they are having to abide by new guidelines to keep both the cast and crew safe. In late July, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told Deadline that BBC Studios was working on a safety plan and was taking lessons from other territories where the show is produced.
"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."
At this time, details of that plan, aside from the new rule prohibiting spouses from living together, have not been revealed. Judge Bruno Tonioli previously told Extra that “it's possible" the show could shoot without an audience.
Dancing With the Stars Season 29 is tentatively scheduled to begin production in September. Along with Chmerkovskiy, Johnson, Slater, Farber, Pashkov and Karagach, the professional dancers announced include Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Gleb Savchenko and Britt Stewart. Following the firing of longtime co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, Tyra Banks will be stepping into the position.