The WGA strike began on May 2, 2023, and is still ongoing days before the 32nd season of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition is set to premiere.
In a September 2023 interview with Variety, veteran DWTS pro dancer Cheryl Burke said everyone needs to “stick together” until the strike is resolved – and that means setting an example with “Dancing With the Stars,” which is set to premiere September 26, 2023, on ABC.
Cheryl Burke Does Not Think It Looks Good For ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to Continue Amid the Strike
While speaking with Variety, Burke referenced Drew Barrymore’s recent decision to keep her talk show on hiatus after previously announcing she would tape new shows during the strike.
In addition to Barrymore, talk show hosts Jennifer Hudson, Bill Maher, and the panelisst on CBS’ “The Talk” have all announced they will not host their shows during the strike, Deadline reported. That puts “Dancing With the Stars ” in the hot seat even more.
“After the Drew Barrymore thing, I have mixed feelings,” Burke said when asking about “Dancing with the Stars” moving forward with season 32. “In order for things to change, we have to stick together, point blank, because if one show just decides to think about the show on its own, this is not going to make big changes. It is not going to change the way these other people, the opposing team, are thinking.”
The veteran DWTS pro used the example of when the cast of “Friends” were united during contract negotiations more than 20 years ago, and all six cast members came away with history-making $1 million per episode salaries.
“When they asked for more money, they all stuck together,” Burke said. “The problem is that if we don’t, then we’re setting a precedent, and I don’t think it’s going to be good for the show, to be quite honest, in the long run. I understand what they’re thinking, and I get it. It’s a business, but there is no business without the rest of the business.”
‘Dancing With the Stars’ is Already Under Fire
The season 32 cast for “Dancing With the Stars” includes several actors, including SAG-AFTRA member Allyson Hannigan, WGA member Matt Walsh, and Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino.
According to Deadline, protesters have already begun picketing against the DWTS contestants who have signed on for season 32 because “Dancing with the Stars” is considered a WGA show since it employs one writer. Sources told Variety that the show’s solo guild writer is on strike and will not return to DWTS until the strike ends.
“’Dancing with the Stars’ is a WGA signatory show. It shouldn’t be shooting right now,” a source told the outlet.
Striking former WGAW board member David Slack called out DWTS directly in a post on X.
“Dancing with the Stars is a WGA-covered show. Its writers are on strike, and they can’t make the show without scab writing. Hope @alfonso_ribeiro @juliannehough @misterhough @MiraSorvino @alydenisof & @jason_mraz do the right thing and refuse to cross our picket line. #WGAStrong,” he wrote.
“I know you’re all under contract and this is a tough situation. But if Drew Barrymore can step up and do the right thing alone, I hope you can do this together in solidarity,” Slack added.
For his part, former DWTS host Tom Bergeron has been busy in support of the strike. In August, he spoke at a rally in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike at the Parkman Bandstand in Boston, per The Boston Globe. At the rally, Bergeron showed protestors a one-cent residual check he received.
Bergeron also announced that he would donate 100 percent of proceeds from his Cameo messages to SAG-AFTRA and Writer’s Guild members on the picket lines.