With ratings down and archrival "The Voice" returning March 25, "Dancing With the Stars" Tuesday announced a 16th season cast lineup designed to erase doubts, boost ratings and reverse impressions that ABC's dominant franchise is waning.
In other words, take a bow, Wynonna Judd. It's all on your shoulders now.
There are a few big stars, like Judd, a few marginal ones, a few ABC/Disney ones, and a couple that beggar the definition of "star." The new lineup looks (in other words) both traditional and safe. But for "Dancing," after a relative ratings drought during last fall's "All-Star" edition, that may be more than enough.
Here's the lineup:
EARLY FAVORITESAlexandra Raisman
U.S. Women's Olympics gymnastics captain, and a gold medalist. She should be considered one of the front-runners.
1976 skating gold medalist. Should also go far.
Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl hero. "Dancing" loves gridiron stars, so . . .
THE REST OF THE CAST
Five-time Grammy winner is the best-known name in this year's crop.
"General Hospital" star; "Dancing" has had a long love affair with soap actors -- particularly ABC's own.
From "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
Comedian with lots (and lots) of past legal problems, relating to substance abuse.
Veteran TV comedian ("The Hughleys") who has moved into radio.
Former welterweight champ from Garden City -- Kansas, not NY.
Season five "American Idol" contestant.
The fun starts March 18.