Gotta dance! 'Stars' take the floor as ABC contest returns
Following a round that was much-discussed last fall -- thanks to such contestants as Chaz Bono,
And the new competitors? As usual, the mix includes actors ("Family Matters" alum Jaleel "Steve Urkel" White), singers (
Also on board: "Little House on the Prairie" staple
"I'm a private guy," White says, "and I have no problem saying I'm old-school, adapting to a new regime of celebrity. The real reason I'm doing the show is the fans. There's been an outcry for my participation in the show, and the second my mother found out about that, she started sending me emails en masse ... as if she needs any other reason to contact me. It's her favorite show."
White realizes "Dancing" will let him take steps toward being known for something other than his most famous role.
"Quite frankly, in the last couple of years, going outside my comfort zone and doing things I haven't even been trained to do have brought me the most success." Such was the case with his participation in
For Menounos, being in the "Dancing" spotlight is turnabout, since she has reported on the show.
"It was never fully my assignment," she notes. "There are certain reporters whose beat was 'Dancing With the Stars,' and I'd done it on occasion. I was there for the season finale last time for 'Extra,' and I remember Tony (Dovolani, one of the series' pro dancers) being like, 'You should do the show!' "
As with White, Menounos knows what "Dancing" visibility could do for her profile.
"It's one of the biggest shows on television, and for 'Extra' as an entertainment-news show, it's one of the No. 1 things we cover." Since its host
"I grew up cleaning nightclubs with my parents, who were immigrants to this country," she says. "We couldn't afford dance classes or gymnastics or any of those things other kids could do; while they were cultivating those skills, I was cultivating a work ethic."
For all the rehearsal time involved in "Dancing With the Stars" -- now seen in repeats on
"I'm actually kind of busy right now," he reports. "I've got a movie going into production, and I've got the Syfy series coming out. And with 'Dancing With the Stars,' they said, 'We've always got your name on our board. What do you think?' It's just funny how when it rains, it pours."