ABC Announces Dancing with the Stars Cast for Season 23

Get ready to put on your dancing shoes! ABC’s Dancing with the Stars returns September 12 at 8 p.m. ET with the return of some of your favorite professional dancers and an all-new superstar celebrity cast. Read on to figure out who you’ll be rooting for this season.

Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy—Gymnast Laurie Hernandez recently went for the gold during the 2016 Olympic Games and now she’s going for the silver—the silver mirror ball trophy, that is! We wonder if this member of the Final Five will make it to the Dancing with the Stars finals?

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke—Laurie’s not the only Olympian in this year’s cast! Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will trade the swimming pool for the samba on the upcoming season.

DWTS Johnson:Arnold

Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold—The former wide receiver is the next pro football player to take the Dancing with the Stars stage.

DWTS Austin:Johnson

Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson—We were bewitched by Jake T. Austin on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, and we’re sure The Fosters star will be just as magical on the dance floor.

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess—Will the Canadian race car driver make it to the finish line?

DWTS - Rose:Chmerkovskiy

Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy—Will the model and black-ish guest star be the belle of the ballroom?

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko—The actress and singer is about to become a triple threat on the upcoming season.

DWTS Edmonds:Holker

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker—The musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer will become a song AND dance man on Dancing with the Stars.

DWTS Henner:Hough

Marilu Henner and Derek Hough—After starring in more than thirty films, six Broadway shows, and two classic sitcoms, actress Marilu Henner is ready to take on her next starring role—on the dance floor.

DWTS McCormick:Chigvintsev

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev—This season of Dancing with the Stars will be all about “Maureen, Maureen, Maureen” when The Brady Bunch star takes the stage.

Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) and Witney Carson—Will the rapper turned real estate expert glide his way to the top?

DWTS Perry:Slater

Rick Perry and Emma Slater—The former Texas governor is hoping to be the “lone star” left on the dance floor.

DWTS Jole:Farber

Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber—There’s no rest for the Little Women: LA star! Terra just welcomed her second child on August 1, but we have no doubt that this mom is ready to mamba!

How Disney COO Tom Staggs Sees the Company’s Present—and Future

Staags & Minnie Mouse

Tom Staggs faces the unique challenge of filling a role that the world’s biggest media company has done quite well without for a decade.

When he was named chief operating officer of Walt Disney Co. a year ago, he took on a job that was last held in 2005 by Robert Iger, before he was promoted to chief executive. Now Mr. Staggs is the leading internal candidate to succeed Mr. Iger, who has said he will retire in 2018.

A 26-year Disney veteran who before becoming COO most recently served as chairman of the company’s parks and resorts business, Mr. Staggs has remained quite involved with the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, which opens June 16.

He is also significantly involved in planning for the future of television at Disney, a key question for the company since its stock began tumbling last August when Disney said that profit growth for its cable business, led by sports juggernaut ESPN, would be lower than expected.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Mr. Staggs at his office, across a lobby from Mr. Iger’s, at Disney headquarters in Burbank, Calif. Edited excerpts follow.

The long view in Shanghai

WSJ: Are there specific tasks you have taken on as COO? How have you and Bob Iger divided responsibilities?

MR. STAGGS: It’s basically a dual-report system across all the businesses. Our approach has been somewhat fluid, making sure that separately or together we’re focusing on businesses and projects as need be and to be the most effective we can be.

WSJ: How will you measure success in Shanghai?

MR. STAGGS: We’ll really be looking forward to the initial reception, but at the same time we build these parks for generations. We won’t judge where we are a week out, a month out, or even a year or two out.

Clearly we are planting an important flag for the Disney brand in China. We want to make sure people recognize the quality of what we provide. And hopefully it will be an aspirational kind of experience for people in China the same way it has been aspirational for people here. And therefore it represents the brand in a way that is broader than just that individual park.

WSJ: To what extent are you concerned about the state of the economy in China?

MR. STAGGS: This is a very long-term proposition, so what’s going on in the economy at any given moment is not a big concern for us. We look at the trends over the long term and continue to be as bullish as we’ve ever been in terms of the number of income-qualified people, the prospect for continued growth of the middle class in China, etc.

Focus on television

WSJ: What has been taking a lot of your time outside of the parks business?

MR. STAGGS: I have spent a great deal of time on media networks recently, focusing on the future of television.

WSJ: Is TV moving toward a more direct relationship with consumers? Does that require a change of thinking?

MR. STAGGS: It’s not so much a change of thinking. For the past few years, our business has been leaning toward the brands and products consumers seek a relationship with. There is an increasing opportunity to take advantage of the strength of those brands and to reach consumers more directly.

We just mentioned on our last earnings call, however, that we think for the foreseeable future the bundle of programming is going to be the predominant way people get their television. Some people might view that as a contradiction. It’s not. That bundle can be strong even as we’re taking advantage of opportunities to have direct relationships with consumers.

WSJ: Clearly there are benefits across Disney from owning Marvel or “Star Wars” that few other companies can match. And that may be only more true in the digital world. Is the same true of ESPN, or is that more of a stand-alone business?

MR. STAGGS: One of the things this company does well is nurture and manage high-quality branded franchises. The nice thing is, quite a lot of them are highly interconnected in terms of cycling through many of our businesses.

But as a high-quality branded entertainment franchise, ESPN has real synergies with the rest of what we do and our expertise as a company.

WSJ: What are the most important synergies?

MR. STAGGS: Understanding how to manage a brand is not simple. There’s ESPN The Magazine, on television, radio and digital. Managing all of those touch points is not a simple construct, and it’s something we happen to do well.

By having that scale, we have been able to invest in a technology platform that allows us to publish across all those areas seamlessly. Also, I believe if you look forward as we increasingly establish those direct-to-consumer relationships, that expertise in consumer engagement will be a skill set that’s transferrable around our business, even if you’re not handing off an ESPN consumer to other Disney businesses.

WSJ: As you package Disney content in different ways online, do you see it all going together, or is the Marvel consumer different from the animation consumer and so on?

MR. STAGGS: We find it’s not sliced as finely as your question might imply. People tend to like Disney. They have their favorites, to be sure. Generally, if you’re a big fan of “Frozen,” that leads to a desire to engage the characters, the music and the franchise in other ways.

We want to make sure there are as few barriers to that deeper engagement as possible. That’s one of the tricks in designing the notion of what’s direct-to-consumer, what’s in movie theaters, what’s in [cable] bundles, etc.

From the Wall Street Journalhttp://www.wsj.com/articles/how-disney-coo-tom-staggs-sees-the-companys-presentand-future-1456110344

Disney/ABC TV Names New Network President

Channing-Dungey

Disney/ABC Television Group shook up its leadership Wednesday, naming Channing Dungey as its new president of ABC Entertainment, making her the first black person to ever lead a major broadcast network.

Dungey, who was the executive vice president of ABC drama development, helped develop series such as “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Quantico,” “Criminal Minds” and “Once Upon a Time.”

“Channing is a gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record of developing compelling, breakthrough programming that resonates with viewers,” said Ben Sherwood, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group.

Dungey replaces Paul Lee, who stepped down from the position. Some industry pundits said Lee has clashed with Sherwood in the past.

“Leading ABC has been a fantastic experience,” Lee said. “I’m especially proud of the incredible team I built and the strategic, creative vision we established and successfully executed for both the network and studio.”

Dungey began her career as a development assistant for Davis Entertainment at 20th Century Fox. She worked as a story editor at Steamroller Productions, working on films such as “Under Siege” and “On Deadly Ground.” She later moved to Warner Bros., working on films including “The Matrix,” “Twister,” “City of Angels,” “Space Jam,” “Heat” and “Bridges of Madison County.”

She went on to work as senior vice president at the Material film production company, becoming president in 2001. She joined ABC in 2004.