'DWTS' season 22 dancers: How ABC uses cast to promote shows

Contestants on the upcoming season of 'Dancing With the Stars' will include 'Fuller House' actress Jodie Sweetin and former NFL player Doug Flutie. The new season will premiere on March 21.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Jodie Sweetin attends the premiere of 'Fuller House.'

The cast for the upcoming season of the ABC reality program “Dancing With the Stars” has been announced. 

Celebrities appearing on season 22 of the dance competition include “Fuller House” actress Jodie Sweetin, former Heisman Trophy winner and pro football player Doug Flutie, and “The O.C.” actress Mischa Barton.

Also appearing are Super Bowl 50 most valuable player Von Miller of the Denver Broncos; wide receiver Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Ginger Zee of ABC's “Good Morning America”; actress Marla Maples; Wanya Morris, a member of the music group Boyz II Men; Paige VanZant, a mixed martial artist; Nyle DiMarco, who recently won the program “America’s Next Top Model”; “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Fields; and journalist Geraldo Rivera. 

Professional dancers who will perform with the celebrity contestants include Tony Dovolani, Karina Smirnoff, Edyta Sliwinska, Mark Ballas, Val Chmerkovskiy, and Peta Murgatroyd. 

The new season will premiere on March 21.

Many celebrity contestants have taken part in “Dancing” over 22 iterations of the show and while some have been famous for programs on other networks or on social media, many past participants – and some in the current cast – appear in ABC programs or on shows owned, like ABC itself, by Disney, making it in some ways a “synergy show.” 

This season is actually lighter on that than some past seasons. But Zee is a weather anchor on the network's "GMA" and in terms of Flutie, Miller, and Brown participating, while no one ever needs to help promote football, Disney does own ESPN, so it has a stake in the world of sports (Flutie now works for NBC in a sports capacity but used to work for ESPN).

Sweetin is a former ABC star, with her show “Full House” having aired on the network in the late 1980s and ‘90s, though the new incarnation, “Fuller House,” is now on Netflix. 

This cast isn’t all made up of people with some connection to ABC, however. Barton is most likely best known for her Fox TV show “The O.C.” and the “Real Housewives” series, on which Fields appears, airs on Bravo, which is owned by rival network NBC.

But we’ve seen plenty of examples of this crossover promotion in the past. Various stars from ABC’s soap operas, including Kelly Monaco of “General Hospital” and Cameron Mathison of “All My Children," have appeared on the show.

Several personalities from ABC’s reality program “The Bachelor,” including participants Chris Soules and Trista Sutter, have appeared on “Dancing,” as have actors from the network formerly known as ABC Family, now called Freeform, including Janel Parrish and Brant Daugherty of “Pretty Little Liars.”

The benefits of this are clear – “Dancing” is a hit for the network and if viewers are unaware of other shows or properties owned by Disney, ABC can use the show to bring them to viewers’ attention. 

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