Dancing With the Stars announced its cast for Season 28 on Wednesday, and one of the most controversial new "stars" has opened up about his casting on the ABC juggernaut.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sean Spicer opened up about the backlash surrounding his casting on the series, noting that he hopes the series will be a "politics-free zone."
“My hope is that at the end of the season, [DWTS host] Tom [Bergeron] looks back on this and realizes what a great example it was of being able to bring people of really diverse backgrounds together to have fun with each other, engage in a real civil and respectful way, and maybe show millions of Americans how we can get back to that kind of interaction,” the former White House press secretary told the outlet.
Many people were quick to skewer ABC for casting Spicer on the series, with many taking to social media to air their thoughts on the matter.
DWTS host, Tom Bergeron was among the naysayers, taking to Twitter to say that he hoped the 28th season “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliation.”
Bergeron admitted that he made that suggestion to a DWTS producer, but “a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.'”
"It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long term interests of the franchise," Bergeron continued.
"We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call. I’ll [leave] it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions.”
The series has suffered its fair share of criticism over recent years, with many taking issue with cast members that skate on by thanks to viewer votes as opposed to actual dancing ability.
That's partly why the series sat out of a winter run for the first time this year, so all eyes are on it to see if it can recapture some of its former ratings glory.
The controversy surrounding the casting will not be doing the series any favors, so time will tell whether there will be reduced ratings as a result of the casting.
However, it is expected that tweaks to the format will aim to revitalize the series.
The Season 28 cast also includes Lamar Odom, James Van Der Beek, Hannah Brown, and Karamo Brown.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.