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Our overall interest in ABC’s long-running Dancing With The Stars is largely limited to reporting on athletes who compete on the show. So when the news broke Friday that the show was moving to Disney+ for seasons 31 and 32 (unrelated, but 32 seasons? What is this, The Simpsons?), we didn’t think there was much of a hook for this sports website.

But then we read the article on Deadline, which contained this interesting note about part of the reason why the show is moving off broadcast and onto streaming.

In an advisory to its affiliate stations sent this morning, ABC notes that NFL football is part of its plans for the Monday 8-10 PM slot on the fall schedule that has been occupied by DWTS for the past 15 years.

“After over 30 seasons of the program on ABC, including two spin-offs, Dancing with the Stars will move off of ABC this fall in order for the Network to showcase several Monday Night Football games as well as develop and invest in new and future programming,” said the network, which also has had success with fall installments of The Bachelorette in the past two seasons.

As part of ESPN’s MNF contract, beginning in 2022, ABC will air exclusively an additional Monday Night Football game, which will expand to three in 2023.

Cue the music.

As that blurb notes, MNF isn’t completely taking over the Monday evening slot in the fall. “Several” games will air on broadcast, along with one exclusive game this year and three next season (which was announced last year as part of the company’s new NFL deal).

More than anything, this gives Disney a lot more flexibility regarding football and broadcast assignments. Last season, Dancing With The Stars ran from Week 2 of the NFL season all the way through Week 11. The Week 1 matchup between the Raiders and Ravens aired on both ESPN and ABC, but because of the presence of DWTS, there wasn’t another simulcast until December. Over the final five weeks of the regular season four games aired on both ABC and ESPN, including the Week 18 doubleheader. Without DWTS on the schedule, maybe there won’t be a three month simulcast gap.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.