‘Dancing With the Stars’ boss talks Spicer, political castings

(CNN)The cast of “Dancing With the Stars” Season 25 is still taking shape, and while former White House communications director Sean Spicer won’t be among those hitting the ballroom this year, executive producer Deena Katz is leaving her options open as she rounds out the lineup.

Spicer, who resigned from his position in July, had been rumored to be in contention for a cast spot but Katz said, “don’t believe everything you read.”
“I do joke around that at some point, I might be able to do a whole cast of those who worked at the White House,” Katz said. “But…I think right now we’re going to work with what we’ve got going on here.”
    Katz has several reservations about including any former White House figures in the upcoming season, namely her desire to keep the ballroom a place where the focus is — at least, eventually — on the dancing and the friendly competition.
    “I’m not trying to be political; I’m not trying to push the edge,” she said. “I’m really just trying to let people to escape for two hours.”
    In the past, Katz has never shied away from polarizing characters, politically or otherwise.
    Former Texas governor Rick Perry joined the show following his failed presidential run, embattled former Texas congressman Tom DeLay was part of the Season 9 cast, and the show caught heat when it recruited post-scandal Olympian Ryan Lochte for the Season 23 cast.
    “I really don’t want to offend anyone and right now, it’s a pretty volatile atmosphere out there,” she said. “I kind of feel like right now, I want everyone to be able to just enjoy themselves.”
    She admits the publicity and buzz garnered from high-profile castings is “appealing.” She would never sacrifice the show’s bottom line for it, though.
    “I’m not gonna lie, those kind of names don’t hurt. That kind of press does not hurt, as long as it’s genuine and good for the show then I think it’s great,” she said.
    Katz also keeps in mind her desire to have a tight-knit cast, who often becomes “like a family,” she said.
    “Part of the reason the show works so well is that everybody is rooting for everybody else,” she said of the cast. “And there shouldn’t be any tension and there hasn’t been. That’s not the kind of environment I’m going to make.”
    Katz sees her job as “putting together the best dinner party you’ve ever seen,” filled with unexpected characters from varying backgrounds. This year will be no different.
    “We do draw from everywhere,” she said. “It’s not me. It’s not my politics. It’s really a cross section of America.”
    “Dancing With the Stars” returns to ABC on September 18.

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