A new season of “Dancing With the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) begins. As in the past, the show has used its casting to generate publicity and controversy. The inclusion of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer even caused genial host Tom Bergeron to complain. He thought that “Dancing” was the kind of show where people tuned in to escape nasty partisanship.
Funny, I don’t remember Bergeron getting so exercised in 2009, when they cast former Rep. Tom DeLay. Nicknamed “The Hammer,” DeLay took pride in turning legislating into a game of scorched-earth politics. He was facing legal charges when he appeared on the family-friendly dance show, and while he was on “Dancing,” gave several interviews promoting racist “birther” nonsense about then-President Barack Obama.
So, while Sean Spicer ranks among the more odious creatures to tango before the audience, he’s certainly no DeLay. Nor is he Tucker Carlson, another fount of racist nonsense.
It’s also rather weird that Bergeron expressed outrage about Spicer but had no qualms about including former NFL star Ray Lewis in this season’s cast. Lewis faced murder charges before reaching an out-of-court settlement. The athlete must be happy to see Spicer take the heat.
The rest of the cast contours to predictable “Dancing” patterns. Just who is playing the Cloris Leachman role, that of the senior dancer still sassy and spry? Is it Supremes legend Mary Wilson? Or former supermodel Christie Brinkley?
Just what do we call “Real World” and “Queer Eye” veteran Karamo Brown? ABC uses just his first name. Back in the day, it seemed like James Van Der Beek would be the really big star to emerge from “Dawson’s Creek.” But tonight, he’s on “Dancing With the Stars.” And since half of the point of most ABC shows is to promote other ABC shows, look for Hannah Brown from “The Bachelorette.”
“Country Music” (7 p.m., PBS, TV-14) enters its second night with “Hard Times,” a look at the musical genre during the Depression and war years, a time when mass internal migration displaced millions from failed farms in the Midwest, transplanting many to California.