Tuesday, August 30 2016 08:43

DWTS: Dancing With the Stars is still NOT Death Walks the Streets...

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And so it begins again... 

ABC just announced their cast for Season 23 of DANCING WITH THE STARS, and as usual, fans are taking to twitter to air their excitement or concern by tweeting @DWTS. Thing is, on twitter that means they're reaching the original DWTS... or at least a DWTS that staked (like a vampire) the acronym before "Dancing," and that's DEATH WALKS THE STREETS. If you haven't been playing along for the past 11 or so years, the #OriginalDWTS is a genre-bending transmedia property created by someone very familiar to readers of this site... yours truly. Curious?

In an era pre-TWILIGHT and pre-SUPERNATURAL DEATH WALKS THE STREETS was originally slated to be a trilogy of feature films, announced in 2005 after the 2004 completion of the screenplay for the first film. It was nominated for a Spike TV Scream Award for "Most Anticipated Film" in 2006 and the "Making-of" Video Podcasts were nominated for a Broadband Emmy in 2007 (through a MySpace promotion) but sadly the project hit some snags before imploding in its original form before the first film was even shot... though casting had taken place, sets had been designed, locations scouted, crew hired, FX tests completed, even score and soundtrack demos turned in!


It was a painful experience for me, and after "Dancing" hit the scene, things got weirder, and more awkward (see my co-writer's custom Converse Chuck Taylor's that had "DWTS" embroidered on them in big, bold letters). In the time since, there's been life in death, with the property spawning an indie comic book (which will return in the not-so-far-off future) that delved into the promised tagline of VAMPIRES. DEMONS. ZOMBIES. WEREWOLVES. THE MOB. There will be more from my crime/horror hybrid in the future... but for now we're back to what happens every time ABC announces a new season of their DWTS: My inbox and timeline are blowing up.


And in my regular inbox as "The Rock Father," this announcement arrived this morning:

The celebrity cast of “Dancing with the Stars” are slipping on their dancing shoes and getting ready for their first dance on the ballroom floor, as the 23rd season kicks off on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. This season’s lineup of celebrity dancers includes two Gold medal-winning U.S. Olympians, a multi Grammy award-winning musician, a star of one of the most iconic television programs ever, one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, and the former governor of Texas, to name just a few.

As announced this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the celebrities with their professional partners heading to the ballroom this season (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Amber Rose with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Calvin Johnson Jr. with Lindsay Arnold
  • Jake T. Austin with Jenna Johnson
  • James Hinchcliffe with Sharna Burgess
  • Jana Kramer with Gleb Savchenko
  • Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds with Allison Holker
  • Laurie Hernandez with Valentin Chmerkovskiy
  • Marilu Henner with Derek Hough
  • Maureen McCormick with Artem Chigvintsev
  • Rick Perry with Emma Slater
  • Ryan Lochte with Cheryl Burke
  • Terra Jolé with Sasha Farber
  • Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) with Witney Carson

Personally, my money is on Vanilla Ice. He's got the moves (you know the dance!), he's down with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and the clown), and his recent turn as Mark Twain in the Netflix Original Movie RIDICULOUS 6 was the only real highlight of that movie:

Now, I'm friendly with a lot of folks at ABC, and tend to visit their offices in Burbank a few times a year... so should the opportunity ever arise to make an appearance on their DWTS, I'm certainly open to considering it. But I'm a terrible dancer.


When things get really entertaining is when "Dancing" cast members mistakenly tweet my DWTS instead of their own, which Marilu Henner did this morning.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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