Matt Walsh returning to “Dancing With the Stars” after tentative WGA deal

It's about to be lights up in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom, and Matt Walsh will be in the house after all.

In the wake of the tentative deal poised to end the Hollywood writers' strike after nearly five months, the ABC competition series is set to proceed with its season 32 premiere on Tuesday, with the Veep actor on board as a contestant after he previously stepped back from the show.

"With the hopeful resolution and vote with the [Writers Guild of America], Dancing With the Stars would no longer be a struck show therefore all cast would be able to return," a representative for Walsh told EW on Monday. "This includes WGA member Matt Walsh."

ABC also confirmed to EW that the Dancing With the Stars premiere will air as planned at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the network, and simulcast live on Disney+.

Matt Walsh on 'Dancing With the Stars'
Matt Walsh on 'Dancing With the Stars'

ABC/Andrew Eccles Matt Walsh on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Walsh announced last week that he would not be joining the competition until the writers' strike was resolved. "I am taking a pause from Dancing With the Stars until an agreement is made with the WGA," he said Thursday in a statement posted to his Instagram Story. "I was excited to join the show and did so under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement. This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work, I walked out of my rehearsal. I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG, and [the Directors Guild of America]."

Walsh is a member of both the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the latter of which has been on strike since July.

As the writers' strike approached its 150th day, guild members began to picket rehearsals of Dancing With the Stars, a show that typically employs at least one WGA writer each season. The WGA considered the show a struck production, which led to criticism of Walsh's involvement.

Others celebrities, including actors Mira Sorvino and Alyson Hanigan, also came under fire for their participation, despite the fact that actors are not technically violating any strike protocols by appearing on Dancing With the Stars. As Sorvino explained on social media, reality shows and some other programs operate under a separate contract than the one at the center of the current actors' strike.

Still, tensions were running high enough that ABC reportedly contemplated postponing the season 32 premiere. Now, all will proceed as planned following the Sunday evening announcement that the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers have reached a tentative agreement after 146 days of striking.

"We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language," the WGA negotiating committee said in a statement. Though no specifics on the deal were revealed, the group hailed the deal as "exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

Guild membership will still have to vote to ratify the contract before writers can officially return to work, but the WGA has announced the end of picketing. However, SAG-AFTRA remains on strike and writers are encouraged to join their colleagues on the picket lines.

The guilds have both sought higher pay and protections from the use of artificial intelligence for their respective members as the industry continues to pivot away from traditional theatrical releases and television in favor of streaming platforms.

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