Actor Matt Walsh 'taking a pause' from 'Dancing with the Stars' as ABC puts postponement plans in place

The 32nd season of "Dancing With the Stars" is slated to air next week.

Actor Matt Walsh 'taking a pause' from 'Dancing with the Stars' as ABC puts postponement plans in place
Eric Mccandless/ABC via Getty Images
September 21, 2023, 6:30 PM

ABC is putting plans in place to postpone the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars," as actor Matt Walsh has announced he is "taking a pause" from the show "until an agreement is made" with the Writers Guild of America, which is currently on strike.

"I was excited to join the show and did so under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement," the actor shared in a statement. "This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work I walked out of my rehearsal. I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA."

Walsh, a comedian and actor known for his Emmy-nominated role as Mike McLintock in "Veep," was announced as part of the "DWTS" season 32 cast last week on "Good Morning America." He was paired with "DWTS" pro Koko Iwasaki.

PHOTO: Matt Walsh and Koko Iwasaki were planning to compete on "Dancing with the Stars."
Matt Walsh and Koko Iwasaki were planning to compete on "Dancing with the Stars."
Andrew Eccles/ABC

A source close to production of the show said "Dancing With the Stars" employs a crew of 500 people and has one WGA writer on staff.

Sources close to production also confirmed that the show will be working in compliance with SAG-AFTRA rules, and a key focus is not to put talent in a tough spot, given that many season 32 cast members are part of the actors' guild. Another major key consideration was ensuring that the large staff would not be out of work, insiders added.

In Walsh's statement, he added that he hopes to return again to "DWTS" in the future.

"Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at DWTS who tolerated my dancing."

Thousands of Hollywood television and movie writers have been on strike since May due to a contract dispute that follows a decade-long shift to streaming, which the WGA said has slashed writer pay and worsened working conditions, according to a previous statement.

PHOTO: Dancing with the Stars coveted Mirrorball Trophy.
Dancing with the Stars coveted Mirrorball Trophy.
Eric Mccandless/ABC via Getty Images

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA, also began striking in July, following a dispute over compensation in light of an industry-wide shift toward streaming that has changed the way performers receive residuals or royalty payments.

Both strikes have brought activity in Hollywood to a halt.

On Thursday afternoon, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement backing its members appearing on "DWTS" who are working under the Network Code agreement, a non-struck contract.

"They are required to go to work, are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules, and we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations," according to SAG-AFTRA. "The program is a SAG-AFTRA non-dramatic production under a separate agreement that is not subject to the union's strike order."

"The majority of our members on 'Dancing with the Stars' had contractual obligations to the show prior to the strike," the statement added. "Many are under option agreements that require them to return to the show if the producer exercises their option which the producer has done."

SAG-AFTRA continued to point out that its members are also subject to a "No Strike Clause" as part of the Network Code Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"By not showing up to work, our performers can be held in breach of contract and the Union is prohibited from advising them not to work," SAG-AFTRA said. "It is important to recognize that SAG-AFTRA is fighting against the studios and not members who are required to go to work every day under other contracts or personal service agreements. We stand with our union siblings across the industry as we also recognize our obligations under federal law."

"Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears, who is competing on "DWTS" this season, told "GMA" earlier this month that she will be donating her salary from the dancing competition to SAG and WGA.

"I have this unique opportunity where I was offered a chance to work when my community cannot work, so I figured I'll do this and I will donate my weekly salary to SAG, WGA," she revealed. "Just give back to them at a time where they can't even give to themselves."

"DWTS" was originally slated to premiere Sept. 28 on ABC and Disney+, and stream the next day on Hulu.

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