In 2014, Dance Moms’ strict teacher Abby Lee Miller was a judge on Dancing With the Stars and some of the pros weren’t thrilled about her being there! They felt her stern approach with kids was just plain wrong!
So you can bet that Dancing With the Stars Juniors won’t be too hard on either the young stars or the young pros who teach them to dance when the show premieres on Sunday, October 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
“The idea is that Sundays on ABC is really family time,” says Deena Katz, who executive produces both DWTS and DWTS Juniors. “We’re a family here and we feel there are people who want to see young kids coming up and our show is about kids dancing with kids.”
DWTS Juniors also showcases many of the pro dancers from the main show serving as mentors to the younger celebrities.
DWTS Juniors is hosted by two past series contenders, Frankie Muniz, and Jordan Fisher, who won the mirror ball trophy in season 25. “Jordan and Frankie were my dream team,” Katz says. “They’re so good together and have great chemistry.”
The judges’ panel for DWTS Juniors is comprised of mirror ball champion Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, and Olympic ice skater Adam Rippon, who won Dancing With the Stars: Athletes earlier this year.
“They all have such great personality together,” says Katz. “Val is probably the most decorated of all our pro dancers and he’s a great teacher. What can you say about Mandy? She’s amazing! Adam is so charming. He brings humor and warmth to his role. He has a great way of talking about performance without being acerbic. We didn’t want anyone mean-spirited [on the pane]. These kids are 8 to 13 years old.”
“This is a great way to show the next generation of dancers,” adds Katz. “It all feels great and we’re having the best time!”
Could the young pros on DWTS Juniors someday end up as pros on the main show?
“They can and they will,” Katz says with a smile. “We’re going to do a great crossover between Juniors and the big show.” Daytime fans will be thrilled to know a young star on General Hospital will be part of the cast!
Dancing With the Stars Juniors premieres Sunday, October 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.