'Dancing With the Stars' producer on injured dancers: 'They throw themselves into it'

The producers of Dancing With the Stars are considering whether to rethink their rehearsal policies in light of injuries incurred by Jewel and Nancy O’Dell while preparing for the eighth season, which begins March 9. Both women had spent the last few weeks learning to do the waltz, when Jewel suffered tibia fractures in both legs and O’Dell did some serious damage to her knee — enough to require surgery. ABC will not confirm reports that Holly Madison, star of E!’s The Girls Next Door, will be Jewel’s replacement, though it seems unlikely that DWTS will have enough time to find a replacement for O’Dell.

"Obviously, going forward, we’re going to have to look at our policies," DWTS executive producer Conrad Green tells EW. "Unfortunately, injuries can come anytime. This is an intensely physical show. It’s easy to forget that at home…. It’s also a great cautionary tale and lesson to all future celebrities. What’s important is that people don’t overdo it." Green says he begins every season with a harsh warning that it’s not as easy as it looks to sashay across the dance floor. "That’s why we give them a month to train," he says. "We want them to gently work their way into it. This is a marathon, not a sprint. But people get the bug. They get competitive."

Ironically, Green says, its the younger, more athletic celebrities who seem more prone to injury. (Last season’s Misty May-Treanor, an Olympic volleyball player, tore her Achilles tendon and had to quit. For her part, O’Dell is a tennis player.) Out of the 90 celebrities who have participated in DWTS, Green says, only Jewel, O’Dell, and May-Treanor were hurt seriously enough to force a premature end to their DWTS stints. Green added that O’Dell and Jewel have already asked about coming back. "We usually have to tell people to slow down and pace themselves," says Green. "George Hamilton had a bad knee and Cloris Leachman had high blood pressure and God knows what else. They knew their limitations so they played safely."

Last week, Jewel told EW that she was struggling through rehearsals
because, "I’m dyslexic, so patterns are hard for me." She also talked
about how she was using muscles she didn’t know she had. Jewel’s
husband, professional bull rider Ty Murray, is also participating in
the show. "I feel so awkward because I’m with someone who’s been
dancing their entire life," said Jewel. "I just have to ignore myself
in the mirror, because it’s like watching a 5-year-old learn something
new."

O’Dell also talked to EW and said she forgot about some of her old
injuries — which include tennis knee and a bulging disc –  until she
began twisting and turning during rehearsals. She had already lost five
pounds after a few weeks of training. "I have no dancing background,"
admitted O’Dell, who was planning on filing constant reports about her
performance to Access Hollywood. "If this were a tennis
tournament, I could predict my chances. But the most dancing I ever did
was during a pom pom routine when I was a JV cheerleader."

Green says O’Dell and Jewel will still appear in Monday’s premiere.

Last week, Jewel told EW that she was struggling through rehearsalsbecause, "I’m dyslexic, so patterns are hard for me." She also talkedabout how she was using muscles she didn’t know she had. Jewel’shusband, professional bull rider Ty Murray, is also participating inthe show. "I feel so awkward because I’m with someone who’s beendancing their entire life," said Jewel. "I just have to ignore myselfin the mirror, because it’s like watching a 5-year-old learn somethingnew."

O’Dell also talked to EW and said she forgot about some of her oldinjuries — which include tennis knee and a bulging disc –  until shebegan twisting and turning during rehearsals. She had already lost fivepounds after a few weeks of training. "I have no dancing background,"admitted O’Dell, who was planning on filing constant reports about herperformance to Access Hollywood. "If this were a tennistournament, I could predict my chances. But the most dancing I ever didwas during a pom pom routine when I was a JV cheerleader."

Green says O’Dell and Jewel will still appear in Monday’s premiere.

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  • Sally

    Yeah DWTS producer. I think the rehearsal policy needs to be readdressed. Maybe give the celebs longer than a month to learn the first dance? Have them start rehearsals earlier. That way they can work up to the 8 hour a day rehearsals. Either announce the pairings earlier or have them practice “on the sligh”. If spoilers come out announce pairings, then so be it. At least it is more likely the celebs won’t get injured and we will get to see them compete.
    Besides these 2, Giles is also injured. Though likely to compete on Monday. Per EW on Monday, he suffered tendonitis in his groin and shoulder while rehearsing.

  • carlos (brazil)

    I completely agree with sally.

  • Matt2

    There’s a huge ratings magnet who can dance like the March wind blows sitting right under their noses if they would wake up and smell the coffee. Stephanie, the 2nd most popular choice in America to become the next Bachelorette, would be more than an excellent substitute. And after the impression she made with Bachelor fans across the country, her fan base is probably equal to or more than half of all the stars gearing up for the most anticipated season in years.

  • T. F. Byrnes

    Voting seems silly this year – phone lines open at top of show and close 30 minutes after end.First dancers have their numbers known for longer than last dancers.Seems to be a disadvantage to last dancer. Also, full names of the judges read over and over again – their egos??

  • nancy

    I was not happy that Melissa’s spot was saved last night. If she is injured and can’t preform, she should be out – were any others treated like this? She is a favorite of then judges, and should have been eliminted tonight instead of Chuck. I’ve almost convinced myself that I should quit watching the nshow. What has happened to “what if good for the goose is good for the gander”? She should cry – of embarrassment.

  • Sharon Tomaszewski

    ON LAST NIGHT APR 5TH COMPETITON CANNOT BELIEVE CHAD WORE A ROSARY IN HIS DANCE. THIS IS UPSURD AS A ROSARY IS FOR CATHOLICS TO PRAY NOT WEAR AS A COSTUME JEWELRY.

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