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streaming wars

Dancing with the Stars is leaving ABC after 30 seasons, will air live on Disney+

Dancing with the Stars is dancing away from network television. 

In a shock move, the long-running competition show is leaving ABC after more than 15 years and will instead air on Disney+ in the United States and Canada, Disney announced Friday

"This is a great opportunity to introduce this show to a whole new generation of fans on Disney+," said Dana Walden, chair of entertainment at Walt Disney Television.

New episodes of Dancing with the Stars will debut live on Disney+ going forward, which according to Deadline will make this the first live streaming reality show in the United States. It will also be the first live Disney+ series. The show, which has aired on ABC since 2005, had already been renewed for two more seasons. Its finale in November drew about 5.4 million viewers, and Disney notes its fall run ranked as one of the top five unscripted series among adults in the 18-49 demographic. 

Deadline called the decision to move to Disney+ "groundbreaking," while Variety described it as a "serious blow to both ABC and broadcast networks in general." But Kareem Daniel, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution chair, said the hope was for Dancing with the Stars to help Disney+ in "continuing to expand our demographic reach," arguing its "broad appeal" makes Disney+ the "perfect home" for it. 

The move also comes as Disney+ is preparing to roll out a new cheaper, ad-supported version as part of an effort to expand to a "broader audience" and boost subscriptions. This ad-supported subscription tier is expected to launch in late 2022, and Dancing with the Stars will make its move to Disney+ in the fall.