Sharna Burgess may not be competing on Season 32 of “Dancing With the Stars,” but she’s still keeping up with everything that’s going on behind-the-scenes of the dance competition series.
The ballroom dancer exclusively spoke to Page Six on Thursday, just as news was breaking of the show possibly delaying its upcoming premiere amid the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes in Hollywood.
While SAG-AFTRA has made it clear that celebrities would not be violating their strike rules by participating in the show, members of the Writers Guild of America have been picketing various “DWTS” rehearsal spots in Los Angeles this week to put pressure on ABC and the cast.
They argue that those choosing to stay on the show – a WGA signatory – would be crossing the picket line to work, as the series employs one WGA writer.
The complicated situation has divided fans on social media, and even led to “Veep” actor Matt Walsh stating that he was stepping down from the show until an agreement is made with the WGA.
“I couldn’t even [tell] you what’s the right decision. All I know is that it must be such a hard position to be in for everyone involved. I could not imagine the pressure and the stress,” Burgess told us.
“I can understand the want and the need for both decisions. The decision to want to move ahead for the 500-plus employees that want to be able to feed their families and have a job, or the need to stand in solidarity with the WGA and SAG to create real change for people. I get both sides and I truly feel for them in this moment.”
The Australian dancer noted that she’s “sending so much love and support” to all those involved, adding that she doesn’t “envy” the convoluted position they’re in.
Brian Austin Green – who competed with Burgess during Season 30 – also chimed in on the topic, telling us, “It’s important for fans and people to know that are reading these stories to not hold resentment against anyone that is in this situation.”
The “Beverly Hills, 90210” alum added that it’s “such a confusing time” in Hollywood right now, with shows like “The Drew Barrymore Show,” “The Talk” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” facing similar situations.
“It’s a tough one. With the strike and everything that’s going on in the industry, it’s a lot of unknowns. And so people are navigating this situation the best way they possibly can,” he shared. “I think ultimately, the show as with a lot of other shows, is going to do what works the best for them and for people around them in the moment.”
In response to ongoing inquiry over whether “DWTS” will premiere on ABC and Disney+ next Tuesday as planned, SAG-AFTRA released a statement backing the program.
“Our members appearing on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ are working under the Network Code agreement, which is a non-struck contract,” the union explained to The Hollywood Reporter.
“They are required to go to work, are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules, and we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations. The program is a SAG-AFTRA non-dramatic production under a separate agreement that is not subject to the union’s strike order.”
Page Six has reached out to ABC for comment.
As previously reported, Burgess admitted in the first episode of her new “Old·ish” podcast with Green and Randy Spelling that she was “shocked” to learn she was not asked back to compete as a pro dancer for “DWTS” this season.
While she initially heard the bittersweet news from fellow dancers, she told Page Six that producers have since reached out to her following the honest remarks she made on her iHeartPodcasts platform.
“Yes, since that podcast [I’ve gotten calls]. It was still very raw for me and it was a very emotional space and it still is very emotional because I love that show so much,” she confessed, adding that she’d “always say yes” if they ask her back for a future season.
“But I’m also coming from a place of deep gratitude for my experience on the show. I have so much love for it, and as I said on that podcast, two things can be true at the same time: I can be deeply saddened that I’m not there and wish that I was, but I can also still be deeply in love with the show and want to cheer it on, support it and see it be truly successful.”
While fans won’t see Burgess on Season 32 of the show, she’s certainly keeping herself busy these days, raising her and Green’s adorable 1-year-old son, Zane. Her longtime partner is also dad to sons Noah, 10, Bodhi, 9, and Journey, 7, with ex Megan Fox, and son Kassius, 21, with ex Vanessa Marcil.
Burgess, 38, told us she’s also having so much fun recording “Old·ish” with Green, 50, and Spelling, 44.
“Brian and Randy had come together and had this idea, but the ‘Old·ish’ name, we were throwing around the idea of three different generations, you know, life experience. We want to talk about real deep stuff, but also be fun,” the former mirrorball champion shared of how the podcast title came to be.
“I said, ‘Let’s slow down on the old thing … but what about ‘Old·ish?’ And then everyone just loved it. Everyone was like, ‘That feels right,’ because ‘Old·ish’ doesn’t mean even anything about a number,’” she explained.
“You could be a teenager, you could be in your 20s, you could be in your 30s, you can be in your 80s, it doesn’t matter. It’s when you get to a certain moment and you think, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought this was so far ahead for me, and now I’m in it, experiencing it.’ I think that’s what’s so cool about it.”
Fans can listen to “Old·ish” on the iHeartRadio app or anywhere you listen to podcasts.