Dancing With the Stars is normally a fixture of the spring TV season. This year, though, the show has been conspicuously absent from ABC's TV lineup. The fact that the show isn't airing has led some to wonder whether it's been canceled entirely, or whether it's not airing new episodes because of the coronavirus, like many other shows that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why isn't 'Dancing With the Stars' airing new episodes?
The decision was made in 2019 that Dancing With the Stars would not be returning to its normal 2020 spring season. That decision was made long before COVID-19 was on everyone's minds, so it wasn't about the pandemic. Ultimately, the network replaced the show with American Idol this year following a number of controversies during recent seasons of the show.
What controversies plagued 'Dancing With the Stars'?
The most prominent scandal the show faced was for its decision to include former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in its 2019 cast. The announcement caused outrage in certain circles, and some fans of the show even threatened to boycott the entire ABC network if they didn't remove him from the cast. Ultimately, Sean did compete, although he didn't make it terribly far in the competition.
On top of the Sean controversy, the show's ultimate winner in 2018 was controversial for an entirely different reason. Country radio host Bobby Bones won in 2018, in spite of the fact that he received consistently low scores from the judges. His overwhelming popularity with the show's fans meant that he didn't need good scores in order to claim victory.
Following Bobby's win, the show decided to tweak its formula.
The controversy that followed Bobby's victory ultimately led the show to tweak the worth that was given to the judge's scores over the course of the competition. As a result, the judges now have more of a say over who should win than they did in the past.
Is 'Dancing With the Stars' canceled, or will it return?
Although Dancing With the Stars didn't air this spring, it doesn't seem likely that the show has been canceled for good. For one thing, ABC has made no formal announcement that the show is done. What's more, the series still pulls in consistently good ratings, and ABC isn't likely to throw out a show that's popular just because it faced a few controversies.
If the backlash to the show proves to be deeper and longer than ABC originally anticipated, they may consider canceling it. That kind of decision would likely come only if the ratings for the show begin to take a real dip, and the network became convinced that they could put something more successful in the time slot that's currently occupied by Dancing With the Stars.
Although it's not totally clear when the show will return, it's unlikely that the show will disappear forever. For now, ABC is just more focused on its other properties, including American Idol, which was forced to adapt its format because of the pandemic.