Bristol Palin's next step: The next edition of 'Dancing With the Stars'

This season's competition and finale.
By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bristol Palin is getting into the family business by becoming one of the celebrity hoofers on the cast of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" this fall.

The teenager joins mom Sarah, who has a reality series on TLC debuting in November, and Bristol's baby-daddy Levi Johnston, who is shopping around a reality series in which he runs for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

Bristol is going to dance circles around Mom and Levi in the ratings: "Dancing" has recently become an "American Idol"-esque ratings behemoth, thanks to some very savvy casting.

ABC made the "Dancing" Season 11 cast announcement Monday night during two interludes in a two-hour episode of "Bachelor Pad," in which a bevy of hot men and women make a mockery of the abstinence that Bristol is all about these days, in order to win a $250,000 purse.

Bristol has committed to weeks of wearing sparkly outfits to compete for the disco-ball trophy against pop singer Brandy; "Dirty Dancing's" all-grown-up Baby, Jennifer Grey; "Drop Dead Diva" super-assistant Margaret Cho; The Dumb One from "The Hills" Audrina Patridge; "Brady Bunch's" made-for-TV mom Florence Henderson; crooner Michael Bolton; "Jersey Shore's" Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino; faded "Baywatch" hunk David Hasselhoff; retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner; "That's So Raven" kid brother Kyle Massey; and ex-NBA player (and former Mr. Vanessa Williams) Rick Fox.

" 'Dancing With the Stars: The Announcement' -- live! Because we're all about keeping it low-key!" "Dancing" ringmaster Tom Bergeron cracked as he began revealing the new cast members.

"So, Bristol, I have to ask you: 'What does your mom think about your being on the show?' " "Dancing's curvaceously robotic co-host Brooke Burke asked during the Q&A portion of "Dancing With the Stars: The Announcement."

"She's excited for me. She knows that this going to be hard work, but she's excited," Bristol said nervously, while seated next to America's Favorite TV Mom Florence Henderson, who was seen earlier rubbing Bristol's back reassuringly.

"Hopefully," Bristol responded when asked whether Sarah Palin would show up "in the ballroom" during this season.

The teenage mother has been a tabloid fave since her mom ran for vice president on the GOP ticket in 2008. And, subsequently, Bristol's pregnancy -- and relationship with the baby's father, Johnston -- became A Big Story.

(Gallery: The Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston saga)

Since then, the ups and downs of Bristol have been obsessively chronicled, most recently as in mid-July, when Bristol, Johnston and their son, Tripp, sat for a photo shoot with Us Weekly and gushed, "We're Getting Married!"

But less than three weeks later, Bristol tearfully gave an interview with People and announced, "It's over," because, she told the magazine, on the same day their Us Weekly engagement announcement came out, Levi told her he might have gotten another girl pregnant.

Bristol and Disney-owned ABC already have a relationship. The new head of programming at ABC, Paul Lee, was head of Disney's cable network ABC Family when Bristol appeared as herself in an episode of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" this summer.

Heck, Bristol's practically Reality Television Royalty already.

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