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When Does 'Dancing With The Stars' Start? Season 26 Comes With A Few Changes

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For some, the only thing better than watching an intense, over-the-top, and totally dramatic season of The Bachelor is what comes after, which is typically a new season of Dancing With the Stars. This season, however, things are going to be a little different with the revamped American Idol airing on Sundays and Mondays for its first season on ABC. So, when does Dancing With the Stars Season 26 start? It’s going to premiere a little later than usual, as its spring season typically runs from March to May, after which the Monday time slot is replaced by The Bachelorette.

According to The Futon Critic, Dancing With the Stars Season 26 will premiere on April 30 at 8 p.m. EST and will likely end on May 21, since The Bachelorette Season 14 premieres on May 28, which makes it the shortest season yet with just four weeks of episodes. However instead of having the usual cast of celebrities from your favorite reality TV shows or former boy bands, this season the contestants will be comprised solely of athletes and just 10 contestants total. To put it into perspective, usually there are 12 contestants for the spring season with about eight weeks of episodes. So with literally half the number of weeks than the show usually has, it’s sure to be way more fast paced than viewers are used to.

The cast of contestants and shortened season aren't the only new things about Dancing With the Stars this season, though. The long-running dancing competition show will also have a new showrunner, Andrew Llinares, former showrunner and executive producer of The X Factor. While he still hasn't given any big hints on who will be part of the new season, he did tell The Hollywood Reporter that having an all-athlete cast is his way of shaking things up a bit on the show. "It can be quite the undertaking to come in to a show that has been on the air for 25 seasons, but I’m excited about taking on the challenge and finding new ways to take the show forward," he said. "The challenge is to find a way to hold on to the key values of the show, while moving it forward while keeping current and fresh. It’s definitely about evolution rather than revolution."

Of having athletes compete for Season 26, as opposed to just bringing on a few and peppering them in with the other celebrities (as the show has done countless times in the past), Llinares’ hope is that the resulting dynamic is to see "an intensity and level of competition that we may never have seen before on the show."

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Having a season full of athletes probably couldn't come at a better time than a couple of months after the Winter Olympics, though some fans probably aren't loving the idea of a much shorter season than they’re used to, since American Idol’s premiere on the network meant that the singing competition series needed the spot on Mondays. To be fair, some of the pros of Dancing With the Stars are still in the midst of their usual tour that comes at the end of each season, so at the very least, this gives the pro dancers some time to prepare for a new season instead of going right back into the thick of it.

While some tweets from host Tom Bergeron made it sound like Season 26 might not even happen until the fall of 2018, with the four week season being a spin-off instead, it looks like the shortened spring season is still officially Season 26. And even though it’s nowhere near as satisfying as an entire season of watching stars learn the foxtrot, having Season 26 of Dancing With the Stars premiere on April 30 is still better than nothing.

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