WGA ‘Will Continue to Picket Struck Shows’ as ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Stands by Strike Return

Specific plans regarding picketing of the long-running dance competition series are not known

Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy on Week 5 of "Dancing With the Stars"
Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy on Week 5 of "Dancing With the Stars" (Credit: Disney+)

Amid objections from members of the Writers Guild of America over the last few days, “Dancing With the Stars” producers are sticking by the decision to return for another season on Tuesday, Sept. 26. But while people connected to the show say it will be in compliance with rules of the writers’ and actors’ strikes, the WGA considers “DWTS” struck work and has indicated it may picket the show.

“The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike,” read a WGA statement provided to TheWrap, reiterating previous guild comments about TV productions that have continued making new episodes since the strike began May 2.

At issue here is that “Dancing With the Stars” is contracted with the guild. An individual with knowledge of the show told TheWrap that there is usually one WGA writer on staff among more than 500 employees total. Individuals connected to the show told Variety that the show’s sole guild writer will return to work once the strike ends. Until then, no writing services will be performed.

SAG-AFTRA members who appear on the show are not in violation of strike rules because it is covered under a guild contract that is not currently subject to the strike. People associated with the show asserted that it can be produced without writing because the competition makes it largely unscripted already. It’s unclear if this means there will be no banter between the show’s hosts, or prewritten announcements during the live broadcast.

Because of the creative work that goes into aspects of shows like “Dancing With the Stars” such as banter or announcements, the writers guild has held that it’s not possible for the series to be in production while also remaining in compliance with WGA strike rules.

Over the weekend, former WGAW board member David Slack elaborated on those objections in detail, saying in part on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter, that since “DWTS” is a WGA-covered show, “its writers are on strike and they can’t make the show without scab writing.”

Slack argued that “by providing studios with a scab-written show, it makes the strike take longer, keeping every other crew in Hollywood out of work.” He also appealed directly to the show’s hosts, Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough, and this season’s cast, which include SAG-AFTRA members Mira Sorvino and Alyson Hannigan, not to appear on the show.

“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 said.

As of this writing, the cast members of the next “DWTS” season have not responded.

Meanwhile, WGA and studio representatives will return to the negotiating table on Wednesday. Read more about that here.

Variety first reported that “Dancing With the Stars” will air despite WGA objections.

For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, read here.

Loree Seitz contributed to this report.