After having been dropped by several corporate sponsors, will Ryan Lochte be dropped from his Dancing With the Stars deal? It appears that ABC television network is still determined to push through with the plan to milk the disgraced swimmer’s potential for massive TV ratings.
Last week, USA Today confirmed that Ryan Lochte will be joining the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. The deal seems timely, considering how much attention the olympian has gained in the past month. His fake robbery fiasco during the 2016 Rio Olympics has made headlines across the globe, and the publicity has gone through the roof. Adding him to the latest roster of DWTS contestants appears to be a definite rating strategy.
Despite this, a source claims that the deal to cast Lochte had been in the works even before all hell broke loose at the Olympics. Season 23 is set to premiere on Sept. 12, and after being on air for so long, ABC has been trying to freshen things up every year. Other controversial stars have been cast in the past, including the likes of the publicity magnet Kim Kardashian. “I think it’s time for me to hang up the Speedo and put on my dancing shoes and get in that ballroom,” said Lochte.
Whether Lochte’s casting was an intentional publicity stunt or not, there will always be critics. Jonathan Long of Entrepreneur thinks that ABC should have gone in the opposite direction. After what he described as “rewarding bad behavior,” he thinks that Lochte should not be allowed to be rewarded for embarrassing the country.
At a time where ratings and online trends drive the entertainment industry more than ever, the question to be asked is whether a company wants to be associated with individuals who were involved in controversial situations. As it stands, ABC appears to be moving forward with the deal. Lochte is expected to appear alongside other celebrities like Amber Rose, Rick Perry and Laurie Hernandez.