Paula Deen

Cliff Lipson/CBS

From the kitchen to the ballroom?!

While Paula Deen's N-word controversy is dominating headlines and caused Food Network, Target, Sears and others to part ways with the celebrity chef, it seems Dancing With the Stars isn't fazed by her current scandal. The ABC reality hit series is reportedly courting Deen to be a contestant on their upcoming 17th season, according to VH1's The Gossip Table.

ABC had no comment on Deen's possible casting, telling E! News, "We don't comment on casting rumors."

But this isn't the first time DWTS has expressed interest in Deen. In 2010, Deen revealed to Extra that she had been approached by the show's producers. "They did ask me and I said no," she said at the time. "Fat girls don't look good sweating." She did, however, admit to being a fan of the show.

Casting the headline-stealing chef could provide a much-needed ratings boost for Dancing With the Stars, which was downsized to one night a week by ABC after a decline in ratings. Though casting Deen wouldn't exactly mesh with ABC president Paul Lee's comments on aging the series down in an attempt to bring in younger viewers.

"One of the critical things each cycle is to make sure we nail the casting," Lee explained.  "You saw us aging down Bachelor this year with some spectacular casting. So certainly we're going to make sure as we focus on Monday, we focus as well on casting that will help us age it down."

Dancing With the Stars returns for its 17th season Mondays this fall on ABC.

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