Last year, ABC announced that it was planning Dancing with the Stars Junior, a spin-off featuring young dancers competing for (presumably) a smaller Mirrorball Trophy for the spring of 2018. But when the spring schedule was announced, Junior was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the next season will be an all-athletes edition, Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews announced during Dancing's fall season finale in November.
At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, TV Guide asked ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey if the athletes edition would be replacing Dancing Junior. She said no, and that Dancing Junior will be hitting our screens at some point down the line; it was just a matter of casting and scheduling that lead to the switch.
"We were in the early stages of talent search for Dancing Junior and it wasn't going to come together as quickly as we would have liked," she said. "We'd been talking for awhile about trying to do an all-sports edition, but the problem is that athletes have such tight schedules it's hard to do a whole 13-week run. This actually slotted in perfectly, so we're going to try that and see how it goes."
Dancing's athletes edition will run for four weeks this spring when American Idol vacates Monday nights. A premiere date has not been set, but American Idol moves to Sundays only on April 29, so the most likely premiere date for Dancing's all-athletes edition is Monday, April 30. Although no cast has been announced, Dungey said that the season will include a mix of active and retired athletes.
As for Dancing with the Stars Junior, it's still in development, but no timeframe has been set.