Controversy erupted on Monday night after it was revealed that “Dancing with the Stars” netted transgendered activist and Cher’s son, Chaz Bono, for their Season 13 cast, but producers are standing by their man and their program.
“We definitely are a family show, we’ve always been a family show,” the show’s Executive Producer, Conrad Green, told Access Hollywood on Thursday. “I think when people have been concerned about stories… or people that are going to appear on the show, I think by and large they’ve usually been happy afterward that we handled things quite sensitively.
“We’re not going… at great lengths to discuss Chaz’s sexuality or [the] sexuality of any of our cast members, that’s never been an agenda on our show,” he continued. “It’s an entertainment show, it’s about dancing, so I think that’s what we’ll really be focusing on.”
The activist-turned-reality star has been open about his journey from being born Chastity to finally becoming Chaz, writing, “Transition: The Story of How I Became A Man,” and filming the documentary, “Becoming Chaz.” He’s even said he is comfortable being the face of transgendered America.
When asked if they will address Chaz’s story, Green noted it is a dancing competition.
“It’s not going to be the primary focus of what we do, I mean, we’re not going to ignore the fact of Chaz’s story, but at the same time, that isn’t going to be the main purpose for Chaz being on the show,” Green said. “Chaz, like everybody else, is coming on to attempt to learn how to ballroom dance against the odds… We’re an entertainment show and that’s what we’ll be focusing on.”
Green defended casting the star, noting that he has been in the limelight since birth.
“Chaz is familiar to a huge amount of our audience from the times as a child when he was on the ‘Sonny & Cher’ show, so people are really interested in that story,” Green continued. “He’s been a part of Hollywood royalty. He’s had very interesting life experiences and for him, the challenge of dancing on the show is a huge challenge, just like it is for the rest of our cast.”
In related news, on Thursday, reports surfaced that celebrity stylist and television host Carson Kressley was nearly paired with a male dance pro on Season 13, but Green said that was not true.
“No, we’ve always taken the view that someone’s sexuality doesn’t determine the gender of their dance partner,” he told Access. “Dancing is just like acting or something and the traditional partner roles in ballroom dancing, at least competitive ballroom dancing, which is what our show is based on, is the male and female partnership, so we’ve always stuck with that.”
While at least one “Dancing” franchise (in Israel) paired a same-sex couple, it appears the U.S. version will continue to stick to male-female partners.
“I think genuinely our couples are always going to be a man and a woman, because that’s what competitive ballroom dancing has,” he said.
“Dancing with the Stars” will premiere on Monday, September 19, in a two-hour show, at 8 PM ET/PT.
The following night, ABC will air “Dancing with the Stars: Meet the Cast,” which airs at 8 PM, followed at 9 PM by the first “DWTS” results show.