I used to watch ABC’s Dancing With The Stars pretty regularly and we had great coverage here on the blog. But to be honest, the show, like most reality TV shows I used to watch, had become a bit formulaic. So I deleted the season pass on the DVR a few seasons ago and didn’t look back. I am willing to give the new season of DWTS a chance, but they better wow me and change up the usual stories. What will have me watching is the presence of a great line up of celebrities and one mechanical engineer – Bill Nye. He’s my early pick, just because so many young adults today grew up watching his TV show, plus, as you know, bow ties are cool now. Watch the two-hour season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
“Dancing with the Stars” returns for Season 17 and shakes things up by transitioning to a one night, two-hour format. The one-night extravaganza will feature competitive dance, dynamic group performances and musical guests, all building to a climactic elimination. Each week viewers can vote for their favorite dancing performance. Beginning with the second episode on Monday, September 23, one couple will be eliminated at the end of the show by combining the judges’ scores from that night with the public votes from the previous week.
As announced on ABC’s “Good Morning America” by “Dancing with the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet, the 12 celebrities with their professional partners heading to the dance floor this season (in alphabetical order) are:
ELIZABETH BERKLEY LAUREN — Elizabeth Berkley Lauren has appeared in a host of successful film, television and stage roles. Her acting career began at age 15 as Jessie in the hit sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” She played Julia Winston on “CSI: MIAMI” and appeared in the final season of Showtime’s “The L-Word.” Her television success led to film roles in “First Wives Club,” “Roger Dodger,” Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday,” Woody Allen’s “Curse of the Jade Scorpion” and the cult hit “Showgirls.” On the London stage Berkley Lauren appeared in “Lenny” opposite Eddie Izzard. On Broadway she starred with Richard Dreyfuss in the comedy “Sly Fox” and earned rave reviews for “Hurlyburly” with Ethan Hawke. For the past several years, due to the syndication of “Saved by the Bell,” Berkley Lauren has been making life-changing connections with a whole new generation of teen girls with her not-for-profit organization, “Ask Elizabeth.” She facilitates self-esteem workshops and volunteers in both schools and youth organizations, and her website, ask-elizabeth.com, provides constant resources and assistance to girls. This nationwide movement has affected the lives of over 100,000 girls and counting. Berkley Lauren was a featured contributor for Oprah.com, bridging the communication gap between mothers and daughters. She is the author of The New York Times bestselling book Ask Elizabeth. She and her artist/fashion designer husband, Greg Lauren, are the proud new parents to a one-year-old son, Sky Cole Lauren. ELIZABETH BERKLEY LAUREN partners with VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY.
CORBIN BLEU — Corbin Bleu is best known for his role as Chad in the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel Movie “High School Musical,” its sequel, “High School Musical 2,” and the feature film “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” He also starred in the hit Disney Channel Movie “Jump In,” and will be seen this fall starring alongside Stephen Lang in the highly anticipated thriller “The Monkey’s Paw.” Bleu had his producing debut in 2008 for the movie “Free Style,” in which he also starred. In 2012 he was seen in “Scary or Die.” Other television credits include “The Good Wife,” “Flight 29 Down,” “Hannah Montana,” “ER,” “The Amanda Show,” “Cover Me,” “Malcolm & Eddie,” “Franklin and Bash,” “Blue Bloods” and “Psych.” He can currently be seen playing the role of Jeffrey King on “One Life to Live.” Bleu starred on Broadway as Jesus in “Godspell” and as Usnavi in “In the Heights.” He also starred in the theater sensation “Hairspray” at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2007 his debut solo album, “Another Side,” featured the hit single “Push it to the Limit,” and in 2009 he released his second studio album, “Speed of Light.” Bleu’s first leading film role was in “Catch That Kid.” Other film credits include “Soldier,” Galaxy Quest,” “Mystery Men” and “Family Tree.” Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bleu currently resides in Los Angeles and New York City. CORBIN BLEU partners with KARINA SMIRNOFF.
BRANT DAUGHERTY — Brant Daugherty is best known for his role as Noel on ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” and can currently be seen as Lt. Patrick Clarke on Lifetime’s “Army Wives.” He was also on the daytime serial “Days of Our Lives.” Daugherty has a lead role in Hallmark Channel’s upcoming TV movie, “The Michaels.” In November he will make his film debut in the comedy spoof, “The Starving Games,” from filmmaking team Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Daugherty went to Columbia College Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in film and video production. BRANT DAUGHERTY partners with PETA MURGATROYD.
BILL ENGVALL — Bill Engvall is a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling recording artist and one of the top comedians in the country. Currently Engvall can be heard on the animated comedy series “Bounty Hunters,” airing on CMT. He previously starred in and executive-produced the TBS sitcom “The Bill Engvall Show.” Engvall was part of the enormously successful “Blue Collar Comedy” concert films, which sold over 9 million units and received a Grammy nomination. He also starred on the WB’s hit sketch comedy show, “Blue Collar TV,” and in several solo specials for Comedy Central. In 2012 he reunited with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy on the “Them Idiots Whirled Tour,” which aired as a special on CMT. Engvall’s first album, “Here’s Your Sign,” is certified platinum and held the No. 1 position on the Billboard Comedy Chart for 15 straight weeks. His second album, “Dorkfish,” also debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Comedy Chart, as have his subsequent comedy albums. He has written several books, including his 2007 autobiography, Bill Engvall – Just a Guy. A native of Galveston, Texas, Engvall moved to Dallas and worked as a disc jockey with plans of becoming a teacher. While in a nightclub one evening, he tried his hand at stand-up comedy and found that making people laugh was truly his forte. Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles and went on to star in the Showtime special, “A Pair of Jokers,” hosted A&E’s “Evening at the Improv” and appeared on “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” In 1992 Engvall won the American Comedy Award for Best Male Stand-up Comedian. He appeared in several episodes of “Designing Women” and co-starred in “Delta” and “The Jeff Foxworthy Show.” Engvall resides in Southern California with his family. BILL ENGVALL joins first time professional partner EMMA SLATER.
VALERIE HARPER — Valerie Harper is best known to audiences for her role as the beloved Rhoda Morgenstern on the classic TV sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its subsequent spin-off, “Rhoda.” The popularity of the show was enormous, and the episode of Rhoda’s wedding set ratings records with 52 million viewers. For playing Rhoda, Harper won a total of four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Her extensive television career includes the self titled sitcom, “Valerie,” and more recently guest roles on such hit shows as “Desperate Housewives,” “Sex and the City,” “That ’70s Show,” “Touched by an Angel” and “Hot in Cleveland.” Notable film credits include “Blame It on Rio,” “Freebie and the Bean,” “Chapter Two” and “The Last Married Couple in America.” In 2010 Harper was seen on Broadway in “Looped” and received a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead. In January 2013, Harper published her memoir, I Rhoda. VALERIE HARPER partners with TRISTAN MACMANUS.
KEYSHAWN JOHNSON — Keyshawn Johnson is a multi-talented business entrepreneur, media broadcaster, television personality and elite athlete. The CEO and a co-founder of First Picks Management, Johnson is a former NFL Super Bowl champion and All Pro wide receiver. He was drafted No. 1 overall by the New York Jets in 1996 and also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers. He joined ESPN in 2007 as an NFL studio analyst the same day he announced his retirement from the NFL. Johnson appears on both “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “Monday Night Countdown,” and co-hosts ESPN Radio’s weekly “Football Tonight Special” on Fridays during the NFL season. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in History. He is the founder and chairman of the Keyshawn Johnson Education Foundation, which supported educational scholarships and programs that encourage youth to aspire towards education. Johnson currently lives with his girlfriend, Jennifer, and their four children, Maia, Keyshawn, London and Vance. KEYSHAWN JOHNSON partners with SHARNA BURGESS.
CHRISTINA MILIAN — Christina Milian is a multi-talented phenomenon whose resume includes film, television, theater and music. Milian is formally known for her role as the social media correspondent for the hit NBC show “The Voice.” She was also most recently seen in the television movie “The Christmas Cupid,” CBS’ “A Gifted Man” and “CSI,” and recurs as the voice of Esther on “Family Guy.” She also starred in the last installment of the popular “Bring It On” franchise in “Bring It On: Fight to the Finish.” Most recently Milian signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money/Cash Money/ Universal label and is currently in the studio recording her fourth album. Her musical career began when she signed to Island/Def Jam/UMG at the age of 18 and was quickly selected to sing the hook on Ja Rule’s No. 1 hit single, “Between Me and You.” The enormous success of the song introduced her to the mainstream music world and brought her commercial success. Milian then co-wrote the Jennifer Lopez hit “Play” and Paula DeAnda’s popular “Walk Away,” and she was one of the co-writers of Justin Bieber’s smash “Baby.” Her self- titled debut, “Christina Milian,” produced the hit “AM to PM” which marked her break-out into pop culture. Several of her singles charted in the Top 5 in the U.S. and internationally. Milian’s “It’s About Time,” released on Island/Def Jam/UMG, featured the mega-hit “Dip It Low,” which was twice nominated for Grammy Awards. An entrepreneur in her own right, Milian currently owns an E-Hookah line by the name of Platinum E-Hookah and she is also the brand ambassador and equity owner of Viva Diva Wines. Most recently Milian has graced the covers of Rolling Out, Unleash’d, Denim, Hydrogen and Cielo Magazines. CHRISTINA MILIAN partners with MARK BALLAS.
BILL NYE — Bill Nye is a mechanical engineer who wants the world to know and appreciate the passion, beauty and joy (the P, B & J) of science. While working on 747s at Boeing, Nye entered and won a Steve Martin Look-Alike Contest in Seattle, which led to his performing as a stand-up comic. He met a few other comedians and started submitting jokes to “Almost Live,” Seattle’s own comedy show. There Nye came up with the Science Guy® character and quickly realized that he wanted to create a kids’ show about science. Eleven years later “Bill Nye the Science Guy” had won 18 Emmys. Nye won seven of them as host and head writer. These days he travels around the globe exhorting his audiences to change the world. He also has a day job as the CEO of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest non-governmental space interest organization. The Society was started by Nye’s astronomy professor at Cornell, Carl Sagan, a man who had a tremendous influence on him, deepening his respect for science and what he likes to call “our place in space.” Nye has written six children’s books and is working on a seventh about space exploration. He’s also writing a general interest book about energy. Understand energy, Nye says, and you can change the world. He was awarded the Ralph Coats Roe Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and holds honorary doctorates from Johns Hopkins, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Goucher, Quinnipiac, Willamette and Lehigh Universities. BILL NYE joins first time professional partner TYNE STECKLEIN.
JACK OSBOURNE — Already a TV veteran at 27, Jack Osbourne is currently co-anchor and West Coast correspondent for “Fuse News,” a daily live music news show on Fuse, the national music television network of The Madison Square Garden Company. Most recently Osbourne hosted the TV series “Haunted Highway” on the SyFy channel. The show followed Osbourne and Dana Workman as they investigated claims of paranormal activity along America’s remote back roads. Earlier this year Osbourne’s production company, Schweet Entertainment, produced a 16-episode TV docu-series for National Geographic entitled “Alpha Dogs.” The show took viewers behind the scenes with a special elite force of K-9s and trainers dedicated to serving our country. In 2011 Osbourne had ambitiously taken on producer and director roles. He produced a documentary about his father, Ozzy Osbourne, entitled “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne.” The film premiered in 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the first to tell the story of Ozzy’s tortured and emotionally fraught journey to sobriety. Osbourne has appeared on such television shows as “Dawson’s Creek” and “That ’70s Show.” In addition he had a cameo in the motion picture “Austin Powers: Goldmember” and a feature role in the film “New York Minute.” JACK OSBOURNE partners with CHERYL BURKE.
NICOLE “SNOOKI” POLIZZI — Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is a proud new mom as well as the New York Times best-selling author of A Shore Thing, Confessions of a Guidette and Gorilla Beach. Famous for her trend-setting pouf hairstyle, small stature and acrobatic moves on the dance floor, Polizzi is the break-out star of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” the highest-rated show in the network’s history. The third season of her current show, “Snooki & JWoww,” will debut in October 2013. She has been parodied on “Saturday Night Live” and appeared on numerous talk shows, in addition to being featured in The New York Times and on the covers of Rolling Stone, People, US Weekly and In Touch. Her constantly expanding brand includes Snooki by Nicole Polizzi, Snooki Couture, Team Snooki Boxing, Team Snooki Music in addition to an upcoming clothing line for Snooki Couture and her fourth book, Baby Bumps. NICOLE “SNOOKI” POLIZZI joins first time professional partner SASHA FARBER.
LEAH REMINI — For nine seasons, Leah Remini starred in the hit comedy series “The King of Queens.” The show continues to enjoy huge success through daily syndication, airing in over 33 countries. Remini produced and starred in the one of the earliest and most successful comedic web series, “In the Motherhood.” She co-produced a series of webisodes for the Suave/Sprint brands under the “In the Motherhood” banner. The highly successful series drew over 5 million viewers to the site. In her first jump behind the camera, Remini co-produced the “Inside Out: Leah Remini” wedding and baby specials for VH1. On the big screen she starred in “Old School,” alongside Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. In 2010 she helped launch and was co-host of the first season of the daytime talk show, “The Talk,” and recently starred in the ABC series “Family Tools.” A fixture on television since the age of 18, Remini has had memorable recurring roles on “NYPD Blue,” “Friends,” “Saved by the Bell,” “Who’s the Boss?,” “Fired Up,” “Evening Shade” and “Cheers.” She landed her first starring role in the “Who’s the Boss?” spin-off series, “Living Dolls,” opposite Halle Berry, and her first appearance on network television was on an episode of ABC’s “Head of the Class.” She got her start as an actress on HBO’s anthology series “Vietnam War Story.” Remini finds great joy in her philanthropic work with numerous and diverse military, women’s and children’s charities. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. LEAH REMINI partners with TONY DOVOLANI.
AMBER RILEY — Amber Riley, best known for her role as Mercedes Jones on FOX’s Golden Globe, Peabody and SAG Award-winning musical comedy, “Glee,” got her first big break when Ryan Murphy cast her in the pilot “St. Sass.” Although the pilot was not picked up to series, Riley was able to use that experience to land a role on the television series “Cedric the Entertainer Presents.” She has performed in numerous theater productions, including “Alice in Wonderland,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Into the Woods” and “Mystery on the Docks” with the Los Angeles Opera. In November 2012, Riley made her New York stage debut to rave reviews in New York City Center’s “Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade.” She has received two individual NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy series for her work on “Glee.” In 2011 she was nominated for a second Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer, and in 2010 received the Most Popular Geek Award at AOL’s 1st Annual Geek Awards. Riley previously served as an Ambassador for VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation and as a member of Seventeen Magazine’s Body Peace Council. She is currently in the studio working on her debut solo album. AMBER RILEY partners with DEREK HOUGH.