We just spoke with DWTS EP Conrad Green about the backlash, the decision to cast Chaz and what the atmosphere is currently like on-set. He also has a message for fans thinking about sitting this season out: You're really going to be missing out.
"We've always invited a really broad range of people onto the show," Green explained of the show's casting process. "We've had people from every sort of edge of the political spectrum; we've had people from all types of professions within show business."
Of the decision to bring Chaz onto the show, Green said, "We thought Chaz's story was pretty compelling. He comes from Hollywood royalty and obviously the personal changes in his life have been quite profound. He's a remarkably strong character because of it. We think he's about as interesting a person to have on the show. While there's quite a bit of fuss now, I think once the show's underway, people will either root for Chaz because of his dancing or not."
While he "often" expects some of the celebrities chosen to be on the show to be controversial at first, Green hopes viewers' pre-conceived notions of Chaz and the other cast members will be changed by what they see on their TVs.
"I think one of the joys of our show is what when you actually watch the show and you see people as they really are, you see a different side of people. You see them struggling to try and achieve something positive. You get to know them differently," he said. "I think one of the greatest strengths of our show is being able to see the difference between your expecTations of somebody and then how they actually really come across when you get to see them with their filter off."
Despite all the controversy, Green said everyone on set is "really excited" for the new season.
"What everyone seems to be ignoring is there's 11 other people and a really diverse cast. I think one of our most diverse casts we've ever had in terms of the backgrounds of people, their stories, their abilities. I think it's going to be a really fascinating season to watch and while everyone seems to be talking about Chaz at the moment, we always try and make it that there's someone for everybody on our cast and people you can discover along the way. I'm sure that's going to happen again this season."
Green's message for the show's fans who claim they are skipping out on this season due to Chaz's involvement? "I would hope that people will at least give the show a chance. If they've been watching the show a lot, they know we're not a mean-spirited show. We don't push an agenda in any particular way. I think we deal with things pretty simply on the show. We're a family show that's enjoyable to watch with your family. I don't think that's going to change this season.
"I fear that people who do decide not to watch might really end up missing out because I think it's going to be one of our most interesting and fun seasons ever."