“Our members appearing on Dancing With the Stars are working under the Network Code agreement, which is a non-struck contract,” a spokesperson for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) union told Variety in a statement on Thursday, September 21. “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.”
This season of DWTS has SAG-AFTRA members Alyson Hannigan, Jamie Lynn Spears, Barry Williams, Mira Sorvino, Ariana Madix and Xochitl Gomez competing for the coveted mirrorball. However, the shows’ hosts, Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough, judges, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough, and all the professional dancers are also members of the union.
“The program is a SAG-AFTRA non-dramatic production under a separate agreement that is not subject to the union’s strike order,” the statement continued. “The majority of our members on Dancing With the Stars had contractual obligations to the show prior to the strike. Many are under option agreements that require them to return to the show if the producer exercises their option which the producer has done.”
The statement also shared that the union members are subject to a “no strike clause” and the organization itself is “prohibited from advising” members not to work.
Not all of the contestants, however, are moving forward with the show. Matt Walsh was also set to compete on this season of the competition series, but announced on Thursday that he was “taking a pause” from the show in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. (The Veep alum, 58, is a member of SAG-AFTRA and WGA.)
“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,” he said in a statement to Variety. “This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work I walked out of my rehearsal.”
He continued: “I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA. 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.”
While DWTS is a reality show, it is considered struck work by the WGA because it employs one WGA writer. Many WGA members have been picketing the rehearsal space of the series for its decision to proceed amid the ongoing strike.
The network confirmed to Us Weekly on Thursday that ABC is considering potentially postponing the premiere, which has been scheduled for Thursday, September 28.