‘Dancing With the Stars’ Producer Defends New Cast

Courtesy of ABC

Conrad Green tells THR secrets of the new season.

Prior to the season premiere of ABC's Dancing With the Stars, executive producer Conrad Green tells THR about the ABC’s show’s 12th installment:

THR: Critics say this year’s cast is more D-list than ever. How do you respond?
On a practical level, it’s impossible to cast this show with 12 A-list movie stars. Some of the most successful people on DWTS have been the people the audience knows least when they watch the first episode. When you think of someone like Gilles Marini (season eight runner-up), everyone knows who he is now, but he was sort of a discovery on the show. It’s a really fractured media environment. You’ll get teenagers who are huge stars that middle-aged people won’t know anything about; people in urban centers think someone is a superstar, yet another demographic will know nothing about them. We’re the melting pot of all those celebrities. One of the big appeals for celebrities taking part is you can get to be known by a far wider audience, even if you’re massive in your particular field. 
THR: What’s the biggest lesson you learned from last year?
The lesson learned is that no publicity is bad publicity! It was a whirlwind. I know a lot of people got angry with Bristol Palin, but that is the flux and flow of the show. If anything should teach people to get involved and vote, it’s that. 
THR: Who is the one person you’ve been going after but just can’t get?
We’ve asked Bill Clinton a couple of times. He’s always incredibly polite but pretty quick in saying no. It would be great to get someone like him on the show. I’m hoping one day he might want to do it for fun.
THR: Is Romeo is going to be a better dancer than his dad, Master P, who competed in season two?
If he’s not a better dancer than his dad, I will be absolutely astonished. However, his dad was on the show for about four weeks. He was not a natural dancer. I think he’d admit that. If Romeo gets kicked out before his dad did, he will never live it down.
THR: You’re entering your 12th season. How long can DWTS last?
If you had asked me that question a few years ago I probably would have said it would have been over by now. Luckily, we seem to have found ourselves in a position where we’ve got a really loyal audience and we have been fairly successful at reinventing the show. It should have a good few years in it left, yet, I hope.