You'd think that of all the shows that might take a break during a pandemic, Dancing With the Stars would be at the top of the list.
You'd think, but you'd be wrong. The ABC reality series, which puts pro dancers and celebrity amateur dancers in very close proximity on live TV on a weekly basis, is soldiering on despite the coronavirus outbreak with some new rules in place that mean big changes for the pros and stars involved—particularly for the pros who are married to each other.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all pros will have to live separately from each other for the duration of the season and can have no physical interaction at all. That includes those who are married, like Emma Slater and Sasha Farber, who appeared on Good Morning America after the list of pros was announced.
"It's gonna be bliss—I mean, it's gonna be terrible," Slater joked. "It's gonna be so different because we can't actually interact and even prep with each other, which is something completely different, but we're doing everything we can to keep it safe."
Slater said there will be "a lot of FaceTiming," and she will be the one moving out of the house.
"Sasha, in our garden, he's obsessed with watering," she explained. "I would kill all the plants."
Married pros Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy will also be participating this year, along with Pasha Pashkov and his wife and first-time pro Danielle Karagach.
The other pros, who are not married to each other, are Brandon Armstrong, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Gleb Savchenko, newcomer Britt Stewart, and reigning champ Alan Bersten.
Dancing With the Stars has not yet announced the names of the contestants or the quarantine rules they will be required to follow. Only former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe is confirmed to compete.
The show will also be undergoing some major changes unrelated to the pandemic this season, as Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews have both exited. Tyra Banks is the new solo host and executive producer, and she's been promising big changes.
"OK, let's just keep this real: It is going to be so next level," Banks said on GMA. "We're doing all this crazy stuff, taking it into the next level, but still keeping the stuff that we know America loves. But you need to get ready because it's going to be different."
In their official statement on Bergeron's exit, ABC and BBC Studios promised "a new creative direction" for the series, which we'll get to see when Dancing With the Stars returns to ABC on September 14.