Karina Smirnoff and Mario Lopez
Extra host Mario Lopez may have let the cat out of the bag last month on Live! With Kelly, but now Dancing With the Stars insiders are quietly buzzing about plans afoot to make next fall's show, Season 15, into Dancing With the Stars: All Stars.
"They're telling us it's going to happen," says one staffer, who couldn't hide his excitement over the fan favorites believed to be returning, including Lopez, Gilles Marini, Mel B., Sabrina Bryan and Kyle Massey.
According to the staffer, the casting would exclude mirror ball champions, which may come as a disappointment to Dancing co-host Brooke Burke Charvet, who won Season 7 (2008) and recently told talk show host Rachael Ray that she'd loved to be a part of an All-Star season. "100 percent yes!" said Charvet. "I haven't danced ballroom since I left. And being on the show, it just makes me want to dance again."
A spokesman for ABC, who would not confirm the plan, says the network is not ready to make any formal announcement. But another insider says that the names on the list make sense because they could conceivably fit the show into their schedules and are all still physically fit enough to compete. Bryan and Massey are in Las Vegas right now, performing in a three-month run of "Dancing With The Stars: Live In Las Vegas," at the New Tropicana Las Vegas.
The names also make sense when you consider the pairings with their old pro partners: Runner-up Lopez could dance again with Karina Smirnoff, assuming that they could put their former romance aside. Runner-up Mel B., who is co-hosting the Australian version of Dancing, could paso doble again with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Runner-up Marini could wow the ballroom again with Cheryl Burke. Bryan could be vindicated for being voted out too soon by pairing up again with Mark Ballas. And runner-up Massey could cha-cha again with Lacey Schwimmer.
"It's better if the winners don't come back," says the insider, "because then, we have a cast of people who have another shot at the title."
Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!