Dancing With the Stars Season 17: Producers Aim to “Age Down” Cast
Credit: Adam Taylor/ ABC    

Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With the Stars Season 17: Producers Aim to “Age Down” Cast

Throughout 16 seasons of Dancing With the Stars, we’ve seen stars of all ages hit the ballroom floor. This year, the youngest contestant ever changed the game. 16-year-old Disney starlet Zendaya Coleman is poised to win (or at least be runner-up) on tonight’s Season 16 finale.

Is this a sign that contestants will consistently be younger in future seasons? Perhaps. During a conference call after their upfront presentation, ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee explained a bit about nixing the DWTS results show and their casting strategy for this fall’s Season 17.

"One of the critical things each cycle is to make sure we nail the casting. You saw us aging down that this year with some spectacular casting,” he dished. “Certainly we're gonna make sure as we focus on Monday that we focus as well on casting that can help us age it down."

As for the number of contestants — each season typically has an even dozen — he hasn’t made any decisions as to what next season will bring... yet. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some changes, whether they be with co-hosts, judges, or just the format.

"I don't want to jump the gun, because our guys and friends over at BBC have a number of great ideas about this, and we're going to announce later how exactly we're going to play it out. But certainly you're going to see the results combined into the two hours, and I think they'll look about how many contestants they want to have and all the changes they're going to make,” he explained, saying to expect more intel soon. “They've got some great ideas — I just don't want to jump the gun until they've made it."

Paul previously revealed that cutting the Results Show (like So You Think You Can Dance did recently) is all about creating a “sense of occasion” and driving viewership to Monday night’s two-hour block. It also allows them to broadcast new Avengers show S.H.I.E.L.D. on Tuesdays, which would have been impossible with DWTS’ current schedule.

Do you want to see younger contestants on Dancing With the Stars? Tell us below!

Catch the Season 17 premiere of Dancing With the Stars on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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