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PureDWTS Ask Court – How Do the Pros’ Contracts Work?

So we’ve been getting some questions on Twitter about how the pros’ contracts work – some of you were concerned about some of your faves leaving the show in the coming seasons, when their initial contract expires; others were just curious how the contracts work.  So here’s our best guess – keep in mind that contract negotiations in the biz are usually kept pretty hush-hush, for obvious reasons, so we don’t know exactly what’s written into each pro’s contract; this is just our best, educated guess based on what we’ve heard from people behind-the-scenes, what we’ve watched unfold, and what the pros themselves have said. Consider that your disclaimer 😉

How long are the pros’ contracts? From what we’ve been able to cobble from interviews the pros have done and intel we have from other sources at the show, it seems like the initial contract (the one the pros get when they first sign onto DWTS) is anywhere between 5-7 seasons (or 2.5-3.5 years), with a possible option to renegotiate after they’ve completed one year of their contract.  After their initial contract expires, it seems as though subsequent contracts are pretty open-ended – pros like Derek, Cheryl, & Kym seem like they’ve been able to negotiate on a season-by-season basis; other pros, like Lacey, appear to have gotten dropped from the roster and not offered a contract extension after their initial contract expired. Some of the one-and-done pros (think of the Jesse DeSoto’s, the Inna Brayer’s, the Tyne Stecklein’s, and the Andrea Hale’s of DWTS) likely were released from their contacts after only one season, when the producers were sure they weren’t going to use them again.

What does being “on contract” at DWTS entail? While being “on contract” certainly improves a pro’s odds of getting a partner each season, it’s not a guarantee; the only thing being on contract really means within the context of DWTS is that the show gets first dibs on you each season, and can use you for whatever purpose is within the scope of your contract – in this case, they can use you as a pro on the show, they can put you in the troupe, they can bench you for a season (and let you pursue other opportunities within that time frame, within reason), they can send you out on tour, they can send you to the (now defunct) Vegas show, they can send you out on one of the DWTS cruises, they can tap you for pro dances/bumpers, whatever. And as Lacey stated in an interview with Kristynyou only get paid if they actually use you.  But let’s say, like Sasha, you aren’t guaranteed a pro spot from season to season, and may alternate going back and forth from pro to troupe – the clock doesn’t stop on your contract, and you’re still burning up seasons on your contract whether you’re a pro, in the troupe, or not on the show at all. From what I can tell, TPTB can also veto any outside gigs you take if it puts you in direct competition with the network (although this seems to vary from pro to pro –  more on that later); so even though you’re getting paid (relatively) well when you are working for DWTS, there’s no guarantee you’ll be working from season to season, and they may also say “nope” to any outside jobs you try to take when you’re not working for them. This sort of exclusivity was ultimately the deal-breaker for a friend of mine who auditioned to be a pro back in 2009 – he had regular students back at his home dance studio, and couldn’t really wait till the last minute before each season to tell them whether he’d actually be around to teach them, and didn’t like the idea of having to “clear” any outside teaching/choreographing he was doing with ABC.

Do all the pros have the same contract? Definitely not.  At this point, some pros (i.e. Mark, Cheryl, Peta, Val, & Maks) have finished their initial contract and are likely negotiating from season to season or have shorter (perhaps year-long) contracts, and probably have more weight to throw around in terms of pay demands and special privileges; other pros still have a bit of time left on their initial contracts (if I had to guess, I think Sharna, Emma, Sasha, Lindsay, & perhaps Witney) and are probably going to be coming up on contract renegotiation time within the next season or two; the newbs (Alan & Jenna) still have a way to go on their initial contract and probably aren’t going to be renegotiating anytime soon.  So those are the differences in terms of length; we have noticed other differences in terms of privileges, though. Back when Julianne was still in her initial contract, she was offered a TV pilot, which TPTB nixed fairly quickly (I’m guessing it was on a rival network); however, Derek was offered a movie role (Make Your Move 3D) in the middle of his initial contract, and was allowed to take a season off to go film it (likely because the studio doing the movie wasn’t in direct competition with Disney, and Derek was the only 3-time MBT-holder and potential Emmy-winner at the time – so he had a bit more clout). Another interesting contractual “thing” we’ve noticed: Val, Mark, Emma, & Sasha have all been allowed to choreograph in the off-season for SYTYCD – but Derek was always prohibited from doing so. Our guess is that the higher-ups at DWTS probably saw him as a potential Emmy-generator, and didn’t want to run the risk of his choreography earning a potential Emmy nod for SYTYCD – so it may have been written into his contract that he was not permitted to choreograph for shows on rival networks. Since all of these negotiations happen behind closed doors and efforts are made to keep their terms confidential – we have no idea what could potentially be written into the pros contracts; but based on what we’ve seen, it’s a safe bet that not all contract are created equal.

Have the contracts changed at all over the years? Most likely yes.  I’m guessing all of the season 1 pros (Alec, Charlotte, Edyta, Louis, Jonathan, & Ashly) were probably only given contracts for that season, given that the network didn’t know if the show would catch on or not; once it was renewed for a second season, though, I’d guess that the pros that returned (everyone except Charlotte) were probably given longer, more exclusive contracts.  By the time Mark & Derek signed on in season 5, and it was clear the network had a hit with some longevity on its hands, the contracts probably got even more exclusive, as DWTS likely wanted to lock down their talent. I would guess at this point, the standard initial contract for new pros is probably pretty rigid & non-negotiable – so the newest pros, like Jenna & Alan, probably don’t have a ton of wiggle room until their initial contract expires.

If a pro’s contract is about to expire, does that mean they’re leaving the show??? Not necessarily. All an expiring contract really means is that a pro now has an opportunity to renegotiate their pay, the terms of their employment, the length of subsequent contracts, etc.  It’s a good thing, usually 🙂 And it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to jump ship. Just look at Derek – his initial contract expired several years ago (we’re guessing around season 15), and we still got 7 more seasons out of him before he finally hung up his dance shoes for good. I know some of you were worried about Sharna, whose contract I’m guessing is expiring after this coming season (season 27) – based on what we’ve seen of other pros whose initial contracts have expired, unless they haven’t used a pro in a few seasons (I think of Allison, who we haven’t seen since season 23; or Lacey’s last few seasons on DWTS, when she was pretty much on-the-bubble as a pro from season to season), I doubt they’re going to suddenly opt not to pick them back up during contract re-negotiations, unless a pro really starts making unreasonable demands or opts not to return on their own accord. And that’s something I think a lot of fans lose track of: eventually, the pros are likely to get offered new opportunities for growth in their careers, and are going to outgrow the capacity they have on DWTS…yes, if they’re your favorite, it’s sad to see them go, but if you’re a true fan, you understand that they can’t stick around forever and will eventually need to move on…which is often a good thing 🙂

Any other questions/thoughts about the contracts? Leave ’em below and we’ll try to answer them.

May 29, 2018 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

Dancing With The Stars Pros Attend Premiere Of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Several pros from Dancing With The Stars and their significant others graced the red carpet at the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” premiere last night and looking so fun and beautiful. Below are a few photos and video on the red carpet. You can see many more at Getty Images and Kristyn Burtt’s twitter page.

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May 11, 2018 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Dancing with the Stars, The All Athletes Season – PRO WATCH!!!

It’s time! Time to come back from your vacation and start chatting DWTS once again. 🙂 So, how ya’ll been? 🙂 I’ve been on something of a vacation from DWTS and even from Derek. But now it’s time to start winding back up again for our abbreviated, all athletes season.

What do we know about the pros right at this minute? Well, Maks, Val and Peta are out for the season due to their tour – likely planned before this season became a thing. Derek is on another network and a different dance show. Mark kinda sounded out – but you never know. Julianne is out as a judge as she’s working on her and Derek’s scripted show “Blackpool”, among other things. Have I left anything out? I think that’s all I’m aware of right at this moment. OH! Kym is also out due to the impending arrival of her twins.

So, what have you heard? Be sure to provide a source if you have something to share….

ETA: It’s a GO for Gleb Savchenko as a Pro for this season. Yayy!! Please read more details HERE. ~Vogue

ETA2: Per the DancingABC Instagram, these are the pros this season – fairly predictable lineup, identical to my hypothetical list on Twitter last week. -Court-

Male Pros
Val – OUT
Gleb – IN
Mark – Out
Artem – IN
Derek – OUT
Sasha – IN
Maks – OUT
Keo – IN
Alan – IN

Female Pros
Sharna – IN
Kym – OUT
Emma – IN
Witney – IN
Lindsay – IN
Jenna – IN
Cheryl – OUT
Peta – OUT

I’m assuming there will be a Troupe???

ETA: According to this Kristyn Burtt interview with Britt Stewart, there will be a troupe for this season. Thanks Kristyn. ~Vogue

The Troupe
Courtesy Hayley Erbert

March 12, 2018 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Julianne Hough Not Returning to DWTS as Judge This Season

….because she’s going to work a bit on World of Dance (thanks to Derek) and because of all her other stuff that’s going on. She’s working on a new TV show that she and Derek started work on a long time ago. Looks like that might finally come to fruition. From ET:

Julianne Hough and her brother, Derek Hough, are joining forces once again.

The 29-year-old dancer stopped by ET’s Los Angeles studio on Tuesday, where she revealed she’ll be making an appearance on season two of World of Dance.

“I actually just did a mentor session with [Derek]. He asked me to come and mentor, so, yeah. I just did it the other day,” she told ET’s Katie Krause of her involvement with the NBC show, which returns Tuesday, May 29 at 10 p.m. ET. “It was so much fun and the dancers are incredible.”

March 7, 2018 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Pure DWTS Watch Out: Olympian Gus Kenworthy Would Love To Do Dancing With The Stars

Olympian skier Gus Kenworthy tells US Weekly he’d love to Dancing With The Stars, but, can he dance? Read below to find out. You can also read more on the possibility of the Shib Sibs taking on the show.

“I would love to,” Kenworthy told Us. “I had been lobbying to try and be on it … last year and really wanted to be, and then it didn’t work out, but I was told that there was interest on their end. So I was definitely hoping that maybe after this Olympics, it’d be a possibility.”

The ABC competition series has been a favorite of Olympians over the years, with five — Apolo Anton Ohno, Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson, Meryl Davis and Laurie Hernandez — taking home the coveted mirror ball trophy over the course of 25 seasons.

Don’t be too quick to put all your money on Kenworthy, though. “I really can’t dance, but for me, those are my favorite people to watch on the show,” the 26-year-old freestyle skier said. “Like, the Steve-Os and the people that have no previous experience. And I feel like when it’s like one of the Pussycat Dolls, I’m like, ‘But like, aren’t you already a professional dancer?’”

Us also talked to Olympic ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani (a.k.a. the Shib Sibs) about the possibility of competing on DWTS. Though they disagreed about who would come out on top, the brother-sister duo would be open to the opportunity. “I think it would be fun, because we’ve been working so long on something together, where I guess we can be competitive and he thinks he’s got it, but I think I got it,” Maia told Us.

He’s a cutie. I can see him with Sharna. More at US Weekly including videos. If you haven’t read all of our rumors for the Dancing With The Stars Sports Edition, be sure to do so HERE.

March 2, 2018 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

DWTS Sports Edition Cast Announcement Information, Casting Director and Co-Executive Producer Talks On The New Season

Casting director and co-executive producer, Deena Katz, talked with 11Alive on the Spring Sports Edition of Dancing With The Stars. Below she talks of what she’s going through currently in putting the season together. Also note that the cast Announcement will take place the week of April 9th. Read on….

When Deena Katz sat down to watch the Olympics, she tried to watch it like everyone else.

The Dancing with the Stars did her research and had an idea of which athletes she needed to keep an eye on: Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, etc. She also kept her eye on every sport, watching and waiting for those “moments.” The moments where America falls in love with an Olympian regardless of his or her celebrity.

“As I’m watching, I think the best thing to do is watch the fans, because these are the fans that watch our show,” Katz said.

She watched day in and day out, knowing she would likely try and garner one or two Olympians to be part of the reality TV dance contest’s 26th season. It’s an audition of sorts – but not really. It’s not just about Olympic medals and records.

“You can have the best name in the world on this show and they don’t have a personality that’s going to work, then it’s not even worth having that,” Katz said in an interview with 11Alive. “The audience loves to have these people, to watch these people. The point of the show is watching these individuals get out of their comfort zones and taking this amazing journey.”

More at 11Alive.

March 1, 2018 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Alex and Maia Shibutani Talk Derek Hough and Dancing with the Stars (Video)

I would love to see them on the all athlete season. It’s a shame that Derek can’t dance with Maia – but she won’t be a ringer if she’s not dancing with Derek….right? 😉 Here they are talking to Kelly and Ryan about how they went to Derek for advice and the possibility of DWTS.

February 28, 2018 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Mark Ballas And Derek Hough Attend The Art Of Elysium’s 11th Annual Celebration – Interview, Photos

Last night, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas attended The Art Of Elysium’s 11th Annual Celebration in Santa Monica, California. You can watch a new interview with them at Getty Images. It’s cool to see them together for such a great cause. You can see more photos and coverage of Derek at Pure Derek Hough.

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January 7, 2018 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

HQ Photos And Video Of Derek Hough And The DWTS Pros At “A California Christmas At The Grove”

Below are photos and video footage of Derek Hough (who hosted) and some of the pros of Dancing With The Stars at “A California Christmas At The Grove” last night. Click on the photos for more. Let’s hope this will be televised at some point in the near future. You can view more coverage of Derek at Pure Derek Hough.

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November 13, 2017 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Dancing With The Stars And World Of Dance’s Derek Hough Releases “Hold On”

Derek Hough released a powerful and emotional new single and video today called “Hold On”. You can watch it below. To see some new interviews with Derek on “Hold On” and a performance on Kelly & Ryan, see Pure Derek Hough. Go Derek!

November 1, 2017 I Written By

Just a music and dancing fan here ....and a lover of life, nature, animals, and spending as much time as possible camping in our travel trailer. Favorite Quote at the moment: "Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth." ~ William Purkey. Follow me at: Voguerista Twitter & Voguerista Soundcloud. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.