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Dancing with the Stars moves to Disney Plus

Daniella Karagach and Iman Shumpert dance on Dancing with the Stars
(Image credit: ABC/Eric McCandless)

Sorry ABC, you can sit this one out, Dancing with the Stars has found a new dance partner in Disney Plus. Disney Plus announced on April 8 that the reality competition series that sees celebrities show off their dance moves is leaving the traditional broadcast network that has been its home for its entire 16-year, 30 season run and is now going to air exclusively on the streaming service for US and Canada subscribers. This will be Disney Plus’ first-ever live series.

In addition, Dancing with the Stars was picked up for two more additional seasons.

This is pretty big news, as Dancing with the Stars ranked among the top five unscripted TV series with adults aged 18-49 during its most recent season that aired on ABC in the fall of 2021, per the Disney Plus announcement. Now fans of the series will have to be subscribers to Disney Plus if they want to watch the next group of celebrities strut their stuff.

"Dancing with the Stars has entertained fans for 16 years on ABC, and we are excited to bring this beloved show exclusively to Disney Plus as the platform’s first-ever live series," said Kareem Daniel, chairman, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution. "The show’s broad appeal, as well as the overwhelming popularity of its Disney-themed competition nights, make Disney Plus the perfect home for Dancing with the Stars while continuing to expand our demographic reach."

Dana Walden, chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television, said the move is coming as ABC is planning to expand its slate of unscripted programming at ABC and that "this is a great opportunity to introduce the show to a whole new generation of fans on Disney Plus."

We'll have to wait and see what fills Dancing with the Stars' spot on ABC, but it's hard to deny that this is a major move for Disney Plus to boost its offerings and attract new subscribers. 

The major streaming services — Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Prime Video and Apple TV Plus — are all constantly jostling to see how they can rise to the top of the streaming heap, and live TV offerings were always thought to be the eventual goal. Disney Plus has planted a flag in that as it will be the future exclusive home for a widely popular live TV program. (Apple TV Plus is also getting some live content with Friday Night Baseball and Prime Video is going to be the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football this upcoming NFL season).

The next season of Dancing with the Stars is expected to air in fall 2022; no word on who will be appearing as of yet.

To watch Dancing with the Stars' upcoming season you will need to be a Disney Plus subscriber. You sign up for it as a standalone streaming service, as part of the Disney Bundle, which also offers ESPN Plus and Hulu, or Disney Plus is available as a standard feature for Hulu with Live TV.

Michael Balderston
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.