Olympic gold medalists join Dancing With the Stars

Charlie White and Meryl Davis, Sochi Olympics ice dancing medalists, will appear as contestants on Dancing With the Stars in the new season. Drew Carey, Diana Nyad, Billy Dee Williams are also among the latest DWTS competitors. The show returns on March 17.

By , Associated Press

Sochi Olympic ice dancing gold medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis will try a less slick surface and new partners as contestants in the next edition of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

White and Davis were the first Americans to win the Winter Olympics ice dancing competition. The couple also won two world championships, five consecutive grand prix finals and a record six successive US National titles,

ABC said Tuesday that game show host Drew Carey, actor Billy Dee Williams and long distance swimmer Diana Nyad will also be on DWTS, which begins a new season on March 17.

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Other celebrity contestants include former pro hockey player Sean Avery, "Full House" actress Candace Cameron Bure, "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star NeNe Leakes, James Maslow of the TV show and music group Big Time Rush, actress Danica McKellar of "The Wonder Years" and "The West Wing," Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy and pop star Cody Simpson.

DWTS has gotten a makeover as it begins Season 18. Sports reporter Erin Andrews will take over as co-host after Brooke Burke-Charvet was fired after eight seasons. And DWTS also gave the boot to the Harold Wheeler 18-piece orchestra this past month. 

Wheeler's musicians, arrangers and singers have been with "Dancing with the Stars" for all 17 seasons. The newer, smaller Ray Chew band (formerly of American Idol)  will feature more electronic and more pre-recorded music. The show actually began using recorded tracks for some of the dances in the most reason season, and it appears the network has decided to continue with that trend, according to BuddyTV.com.

“We feel that there are some types of music and types of songs, a lot of modern music particularly, is so produced that it's impossible for an 18-piece band to replicate that sound," DWTS executive producer Conrad Green told The Hollywood Reporter. "You get to a point where you're forcing a band to try and do sound that they just literally can't pull off.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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