ABC press release:
ABC ANNOUNCES THIS SEASON’S “DANCING WITH THE STARS” CELEBRITY AND PROFESSIONAL PAIRINGS ON “GMA"
THE STUNNING NEW CAST WILL TAKE TO THE STAGE WHEN
“DANCING WITH THE STARS” PREMIERES, MONDAY, MARCH 19 ON ABC
“Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” Premieres in Week Two
With the First Elimination, Tuesday, March 27
This season’s dynamic lineup of stars -- including a Super Bowl champion, a telenovela star,
a tennis legend, a Disney Channel star, a classical singing star and a music legend – will perform either the Foxtrot or the Cha Cha for the first time on live national television with their professional partners during the two-hour season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” MONDAY, MARCH 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
As announced today on ABC’s “Good Morning America” by “Dancing with the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet, the 12 celebrities, with their professional partners, heading to the dance floor this season are:
GAVIN DeGRAW -- Gavin DeGraw is no stranger to the top of the charts. He first broke through with the 2003 release of his debut album, “Chariot,” which sold over a million copies, earned platinum certification and yielded three hit singles: “I Don’t Want to Be,” “Follow Through” and the title-track, “Chariot.” DeGraw’s self-titled second album debuted at No. 1 on the digital sales chart and at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart in 2008, earning him his first Top 10 album. It spawned the hit singles “In Love with a Girl,” which Billboard dubbed “a rocking homerun,” and the gold-certified “We Belong Together.” In 2009 DeGraw released “Free” as a gift to his die-hard fans clamoring for recorded versions of his live favorites. He released his third studio album, “Sweeter,” in September of 2011. The album’s first single, “Not Over You,” co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, was just certified platinum, is a huge hit and has been climbing the sales and radio charts since its June 2011 release. GAVIN DeGRAW partners with last season’s champ, KARINA SMIRNOFF, who returns for her 11th season.
DONALD DRIVER -- Donald Driver has overcome a childhood of homelessness and overcome obstacles to become a Super Bowl champion and the All-Time Leading Receiver in Green Bay Packers history. After being selected in the last round of the NFL draft, he went on to hold the Packers’ all-time receiving records for yards and receptions, as well as a host of others. Driver faced struggles growing up that many could not imagine. Growing up homeless and living in a U-Haul truck for a period of time, he was inspired to become one of the most community-minded athletes of our generation. He and his wife, Betina, created the Donald Driver Foundation in 2001 with a focus on homelessness, education and health & wellness initiatives. He has donated his time for hundreds of community appearances. Driver is most proud of his family, wife Betina and kids Cristian, Christina and Charity. His kids, and his commitment to education, drove him to write three children’s books revolving around the lovable character “Quickie.” The books’ illustrations and stories are based on his family. He recently read his latest book, Quickie Wins a Championship, at the Library of Congress at an event that featured First Lady Michelle Obama. DONALD DRIVER joins PETA MURGATROYD, who is returning for her second season as a professional partner.
ROSHON FEGAN -- Most widely recognized for his roles on Disney Channel, this musical artist, songwriter, producer and actor currently stars on the Disney Channel original series “Shake It Up!” as Ty Blue. Prior to this role, he appeared as Sander Loyer in the Disney Channel original movies “Camp Rock” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.” Fegan also performed songs on the “Camp Rock” soundtrack, as well as the DVD bonus track “Camp Rock.” The 20-year-old Fegan recently released his first self-produced EP, “I Am Ro•Shon,” which contains two new tracks written and produced by Fegan himself, “Got Me Like” and “Top of the World” that fuses a unique universal sound of Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, Funk and Electronic Dance music. He writes and produces all of his own music under his independently owned record label, 3inaRo Entertainment, where he serves as CEO. ROSHON FEGAN teams with CHELSIE HIGHTOWER, who is returning for her 6th season.
MELISSA GILBERT -- A native of Los Angeles, Melissa Gilbert comes from a long line of entertainers including her grandfather, Harry Crane, creator and writer of “The Honeymooners,” and her father, respected comedian, actor, musician and dancer Paul Gilbert. At age 2, Gilbert made her on-air debut modeling baby clothes and appeared in more than 30 television commercials over the next seven years. At age 9, she joined the cast of “Little House on the Prairie,” continuing with the popular series for 10 years. She has since starred in hundreds of television movies, specials and series, including the Emmy Award-winning M.O.W. “The Miracle Worker.” In feature films Gilbert starred in “Sylvester” and did a cameo role playing herself in Griffin Dunne’s film, “Lisa Picard is Famous.” On stage she made her Off Broadway debut in “A Shayna Maidel,” and later starred in “The Miracle Worker,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “Love Letters.” She made her directorial debut with the ABC after school special, “Me and My Hormones,” and produced the A&E documentary “Child Stars: Their Story.” Gilbert’s legacy came full circle when she starred as Ma in the national tour of “Little House on the Prairie the Musical.” In 2009 she shared her personal story in her New York Times bestselling memoir, Prairie Tale. Gilbert served two terms as the 23rd President of Screen Actors Guild, two terms as Vice President on the AFL-CIO executive council, as Vice President for the California Labor Federation, as a commissioner on the California Film Commission and as chair of the 2005 SAG Theatrical/Television Negotiating Committee. An avid philanthropist, she is the President of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, and recently became the first-ever national spokesperson for The Partnership at Drugfree.org. She is a devoted mother to four sons. MELISSA GILBERT partners with MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, who returns for his 12th season.
KATHERINE JENKINS -- Katherine Jenkins is the world’s most prolific classical crossover artist. The Welsh mezzo soprano has sold in excess of seven million albums since launching her career in 2004. An internationally recognized figure, at the age of only 31 Jenkins has become an ambassador and inspiration for millions of people around the world. When she was still only 23, she signed what was said to be the biggest ever UK classical recording deal; she has broken records, becoming the fastest selling mezzo soprano ever, has released eight studio albums, has won two Classical BRIT awards and broken countless records with her albums going platinum around the world. She has performed with Placido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli, had lunch and performed for the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, as well as for prime ministers and dignitaries around the world. Having recently worked with internationally renowned producers including David Foster and John Shanks, Jenkins’ unique and timeless vocals have defined the genre. Known for her interpretations of popular songs, operatic arias and hymns, she is also known for her long-standing work with the British Forces Foundation for which she is a trustee, and has consequently made various trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops. This support for the troops has led her to being referred to as the Forces’ Sweetheart. Cherished as one of Britain’s favorite singers, Jenkins has now become one of its greatest musical exports. KATHERINE JENKINS joins two-time champ MARK BALLAS, who is returning for his 10th season.
GLADYS KNIGHT -- Eight-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight has enjoyed No. 1 hits in pop, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. The Georgia-born Knight began performing recitals at age 4 in the Mount Mariah Baptist Church. Three years later, in 1952, she won the grand prize on television’s “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” and the following year she, along with her brother, Bubba, and her cousins, formed The Pips and had their first hit in 1961. In 1962 the group was renamed Gladys Knight & The Pips. With Knight singing lead and The Pips providing lush harmonies and graceful choreography, the group went on to achieve icon status, recording some of the most memorable songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Top 20 hits like “Every Beat of My Heart,” “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “If I Were Your Woman” set the stage for an amazing run in the mid-1970s, while Top 10 gold-certified singles like “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye),” “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me” and the No. 1 smash “Midnight Train to Georgia” establishing Gladys Knight & The Pips as the premiere pop/R&B vocal ensemble in the world. All told, Knight has recorded more than 38 albums over the years, including four solo albums during the past decade. This spring she will release her newest album, featuring the hit “I Who Have Nothing.” Most recently Knight appeared in the Tyler Perry film, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” A longtime Las Vegas resident, Knight returned to the Strip this past year at the famed Tropicana Hotel for a special engagement that ran in the newly named Gladys Knight Theater, making her the first African-American performer to have a venue named after her in Las Vegas. GLADYS KNIGHT partners with TRISTAN MCMANUS, who returns as a professional partner for his second season.
WILLIAM LEVY -- Levy was born in Cuba and very early on knew he would go after his dreams, even if it meant leaving his beloved country and risking his life. By age 15, Levy was living in Miami, Florida, where he attended high school and learned to speak English. His incursion in acting was a supporting role on Telemundo’s “Los Teens,” a series about Hispanic teenagers growing up in the United States. Prior to “Los Teens,” Levy had appeared in two reality shows, also for Telemundo, and a music video. His modeling career also took off at this point and he was signed to one of the most prestigious national modeling agencies. Levy’s big break came in 2007, when he was personally chosen by famed Televisa producer Carla Estrada to play the role of Vasco Darien in “Pasion,” an epic novela production set in Mexico’s colonial period. Levy gained instant recognition and his acting career skyrocketed as a consequence of the novela’s popularity. After “Pasion,” he traveled to Ecuador and participated in the film “Retazos de Vida.” Shortly thereafter he returned to Mexico for his first leading role in “Cuidado con el Angel,” a soap opera production that consolidated him as one of Mexico’s most sought after leading actors. He starred as Alejandro Lombardo on Univision’s “Sortilegio,” Mexico’s highest rated primetime production, and now stars in “Triunfo del Amor,” (Univision) the No. 1 rated telenovela on TV. Levy enjoys playing all kinds of sports, but he considers himself an avid baseball fan. He currently resides between Los Angeles, Mexico City and Miami, FL. WILLIAM LEVY partners with two-time champ CHERYL BURKE, who returns for her 13th season.
MARIA MENOUNOS -- Actress, author and the host of “EXTRA,” Maria Menounos’ story began cleaning Boston nightclubs alongside her Greek immigrant parents from age of 3, and not learning to speak English until she was 10. At 22 she became the youngest person to host “Entertainment Tonight,” and would later report for “Today,” “Dateline” and “Nightly News.” She has traveled to such places as El Salvador, South Africa and Afghanistan while reporting on earthquakes, the AIDS epidemic and the war. Inspired by her world travels and the devastating effects of the AIDS crisis, she created the charity, Take Action Hollywood! In 2008 she conducted the only interview with the Obama family during the Presidential campaign. Menounos is the New York Times bestselling author of the self help book, The EveryGirl's Guide to Life. She recently launched AfterBuzzTV.com, an online digital network dedicated to producing wrap-up shows for America's favorite television series. She loves people, life and trying new things! MARIA MENOUNOS joins three-time champ DEREK HOUGH, who is returning for his 9th season.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA -- A champion both on and off the court, Martina Navratilova is an influential athlete and cultural figure. Born in Prague in 1956, Navratilova is the most dominant tennis player ever to set foot on the court. She is the only player in history to win Grand Slam titles in four different decades, including a curtain-closing U.S. Open victory in mixed-doubles at age 49. Her resume is highlighted by 59 Grand Slam titles, a record 9 Wimbledon singles championships, and an unrivaled 344 tournament victories. Off the court Navratilova has been a lifelong champion for individual freedom and a pioneer for human rights. At age 18 she left communist Czechoslovakia and sought political asylum and freedom in the United States. After receiving her U.S. citizenship in 1981, she publicly acknowledged that she is gay -- at a time when such announcements came at great personal cost to public figures. In 2010 Navratilova was diagnosed with breast cancer. She approached breast cancer like her tennis training, subsequently becoming cancer free and a champion for breast cancer awareness. She is currently the Fitness Ambassador for AARP, inspiring its 39 million members to follow her example by redefining what it means to be 50+. Navratilova is an accomplished author and speaker and is an on-air commentator for the Tennis Channel. MARTINA NAVRATILOVA teams with TONY DOVOLANI, who returns for a 13th season.
SHERRI SHEPHERD – Sherri Shepherd is an actress, comedienne and co-host of ABC’s hugely popular daytime talk show, “The View.” Whether she’s on stage or screen, this Daytime Emmy® Award winner's magnetic personality and hilarious sense of humor never fails to delight audiences. She has appeared in such popular television shows as “30 Rock,” “Less than Perfect” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and in films including “Precious,” “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and most recently “One for the Money.” She is the author of a humorous autobiography, Permission Slips: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Yourself a Break (Grand Central Publishing). SHERRI SHEPHERD partners with VAL CHMERKOVSKIY, who is returning for his second season as a professional partner.
JACK WAGNER – An actor of daytime and primetime television and the stage, Jack Wagner is one of the most popular stars in the history of soaps. Wagner studied theater in college, graduating from The University of Arizona with a BFA in drama. He has starred in multiple television series, over a dozen of television movies, and has appeared in over 40 theatrical productions around the world. In 1983 Wagner landed the starring role of rocker Frisco Jones on ABC’s daytime series, “General Hospital.” He recorded several songs for the show, eventually signing with Quincy Jones’ record label, Qwest, where he recorded his first hit single, “All I Need.” The single was No. 2 on Pop charts and No. 1 on Adult Contemporary charts. In 1987 Wagner returned to his theatrical roots, touring nationally as Tony in “West Side Story” and as Danny Zucko in “Grease.” In the early ‘90s he moved to primetime television, joining the hit series “Melrose Place,” where he spent the next five seasons both acting and directing. In 2000 he took the role of a lifetime in the Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde.” Most recently Wagner joined the company of “The Bold and the Beautiful.” In his spare time he enjoys playing golf and participating in celebrity golf tournaments around the country. He is the National Celebrity Ambassador of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which benefits from The Jack Wagner Celebrity Golf Classic, his annual golf tournament. JACK WAGNER joins ANNA TREBUNSKAYA, who returns for her 9th season.
JALEEL WHITE -- Jaleel White has brought laughter to millions of people around the world as a multi-talented actor who has also become an emerging screenwriter. White is best known for his portrayal of Steve Urkel/Stefan Urquelle on ABC’s long-running series, “Family Matters.” The series is one of 22 shows in television history to reach 200 episodes. While attending UCLA’s School of Film and Television, White occupied a dual role as star and producer of the UPN series, “Grown-Ups.” Upon graduating from UCLA, he worked as a WGA writer for such notable companies as Imagine Entertainment and Disney Channel Television. He has also resumed acting, playing guest starring roles in “Boston Legal,” “House,” “NCIS” and Dreamworks’ ”Dreamgirls.” Last year White played a role in the feature film “Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer,” voiced the role of Sonic the Hedgehog, and wrote, produced and starred in his own web series, “Fake It ‘Til You Make It.” White currently plays recurring roles on USA Network’s cable smash, “Psych,” and the Nickelodeon series “Problem Solverz.” Coming up he will host the new SyFy game show, “Total Blackout,” and will begin production on a film which he co-wrote, “Parkin’ Lot Pimpin.” JALEEL WHITE teams with two-time champ KYM JOHNSON, who returns for her 11th season. http://www.abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=022812_01