This fall all eyes will be on Dancing With the Stars as the show makes a move from ABC to streaming on Disney +. It will be the first live streaming, reality competition show to air in the U.S., and you can bet other networks are paying close attention. With viewership dropping dramatically on linear TV, the entertainment industry is trying to figure out a way to make money on their shows (especially bigger budget shows like Dancing With the Stars, which was no longer profitable for ABC).
That means a paywall where they can sell subscriptions to TV audiences to offset those costs. Disney + is hoping that that longtime, passionate audience that comes with Dancing With the Stars will follow the pros and celebrities behind the paywall. But take one look at the social media comments and the network has two issues in front of them: subscription fatigue and Tyra Banks.
Many Americans are stretched to the limit when it comes to their monthly budget, or some simply don’t have access to the internet. By adding extra special content like the Sept. 8 #DisneyPlusDay show, Dancing With the Stars: The Pros’ Most Memorable Dances, executives hope to entice people to sign up for service out of FOMO (yes, fear of missing out). ABC didn’t have the bandwidth even do a 30th season celebration for the show, so it’s fitting that they do get something in the 31st season with the big network change. The other issue is Tyra Banks, whose fashion runway entrances rub the audience the wrong way. So, this year, producers have brought in Season 19 winner Alfonso Ribeiro to help the add more warmth and camaraderie — and they hope this strategy pays off.
Viewers, who are going to splurge on the monthly subscription, will find that opening numbers will return in a much splashier way — and the troupe is back in full force with four dancers filling in the extra time of the two-hour, no-commercials show. The one question that remains to be seen is how much Disney the audience will see. While Disney Week has been a long-running theme on the show, there is a fear that the network will find a way to promote all of their movies, TV shows, and theme parks into each week. Let’s hope returning executive producer Conrad Green reclaims some of that magic from its early days on ABC, but balances it with a show that needs to find a strong path into the future.
Dancing With the Stars premieres on Disney + on Monday, Sept. 19.
Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless.