ABC execs have apparently noted the decline in the ratings on the last season of Dancing with the Stars. Despite fielding in a record number of (relatively known) competitors, the finale showdown between Mya and eventual winner Donny Osmond registered the lowest ratings in the show's history. Naturally, there would have to be changes.
For one, there'll be fewer couples when Dancing with the Stars returns on March 22. ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson himself said he likes airing two cycles of the show each year, but 16 couples in one season was just too much. Hence, Dancing with the Stars season 10 will be limited to 11 to 12 couples tops.
"Last season, we had some unlucky breaks with people dropping out, so we're also looking at the casting we can get. It will be very competitive this Spring, and we're going to step it up," the ABC exec added.
What about doing one cycle per year? The idea doesn't appeal to McPherson.
"We still feel it can sustain a two-tier cycle. Will there be a time where we'll reconsider one? But as long as we cast it right we'll continue."
Another change they're introducing: the first couple will be eliminated after the second episode, giving chance for everyone to adapt to performing in front of everyone on live television. The cut will be based on the judges' scores in addition to votes from the public for the first two episodes.
Dancing with the Stars season 10 will thus kick off with a two-hour performance show on March 22, then another two-hour performance show the following week on March 29. During both times, viewers will be able to vote per episode. The first elimination night will take place after the second two-hour performance show.
Casting for the new season is currently on.