Here is some shocking news. After 30 seasons, Disney is moving Dancing with the Stars to Disney+, the company’s streaming service.
The show has received a two-season renewal at the Disney-owned streaming service for Seasons 31 and 32, with the new season to debut in the fall. DWTS will be the first live series to stream on Disney Plus.
According to Variety, DWTS WILL NOT air repeats on ABC and ONLY be available via Disney Plus.
“’Dancing with the Stars’ has entertained fans for 16 years on ABC, and we are excited to bring this beloved show exclusively to Disney+ 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+ the perfect home for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ while continuing to expand our demographic reach.”
This means the show will be available to fewer people. The DWTS audience skews older, probably many still rely on broadcast rather than streaming services for their TV watching. If Disney is still trying to attract a younger audience to the show, good luck with that.
Variety sums up my feelings regarding the news:
The move is a serious blow to both ABC and broadcast networks in general, which have staked their relevance in recent years on their ability to deliver live audiences as broadcast ratings for scripted programming continues to dwindle. More and more, media giants like Disney are shifting resources over to their budding streaming businesses, leaving broadcasters with fewer and fewer shows to fill their airtime. Should “DWTS” prove to be successful on Disney Plus, it opens the door for even more shows to be shifted over to streaming.
My first thought? American Idol is next. The ratings are holding up compared to the rest of the broadcast television landscape, but each season brings lower numbers. Overall, American Idol’s ratings this season are on par with DWTS ratings last season–0.6-0.9 in the 18-49 key demo.
UPDATE: ABC is bringing football to Monday nights. Instead of affiliates pre-empting programing when a local team plays a Monday night game, ABC will air Monday night football games nationally. ABC sent an advisory to ABC affiliates about the changes this morning, according to Deadline.
“After over 30 seasons of the program on ABC, including two spin-offs, Dancing with the Stars will move off of ABC this fall in order for the Network to showcase several Monday Night Football games as well as develop and invest in new and future programming,” said the network.
“Dancing with the Stars has been a beloved staple on ABC for 30 seasons and brought so much joy to millions of viewers,” said Dana Walden, Chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television. “As we’re significantly expanding our unscripted slate at ABC, this is a great opportunity to introduce this show to a whole new generation of fans on Disney+. We’re so grateful to our incredible partners at BBC Studios and look forward to continuing our relationship with them on this spectacular series, which will continue to be overseen by Rob Mills and the talented Walt Disney Television Alternative team.”
“The fact that our iconic global format Dancing with the Stars will now set the record as the first live series on Disney+ represents a major growth opportunity and a bold next step forward in the evolution of the franchise,” said Valerie Bruce, general manager of BBC Studios, Los Angeles Productions. “This unprecedented move, combined with our two-season pick-up, is a testament to the proven power of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and a resounding vote of confidence from our great, supportive partners at Disney, showing how much they value and believe in the brand.”