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'Dancing with the Stars' goes mainstream with new cast

What you notice first when looking over the new cast of ABC's Dancing with the Stars is a glorious absence of one thing: reality TV stars.

Instead, ABC has turned away from the likes of the Situation and Rob Kardashian to present a more usual collection of faded past TV stars, sports figures, singers and youth stars.

Here's the full cast, as announced Tuesday morning on Good Morning America:

Family Matters actor Jaleel White;

• Singer Gladys Knight;

Little House on the Prairie actor Melissa Gilbert;

• NFL player Donald Driver;

The View co-host Sherri Shepherd;

• Telenovela star William Levy;

• Singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw;

• Disney Channel star Roshon Fegan;

• Tennis player Martina Navratilova;

Melrose Place actor Jack Wagner;

• Operatic singer Katherine Jenkins;

Extra co-host Maria Menounos.

Gone are the tabloidy types who may have fueled gossip magazine coverage but also helped the show feel a little more tawdry and desperate. But it remains to be seen how viewers will bond with this new crew, especially given new competition from NBC's singing competition The Voice on Monday nights.

There are no comedians or news magnets such as Chaz Bono or Nancy Grace, which may not be the smartest move, given the show crowned one of its least-known winners last cycle in wounded soldier-turned-soap star J. R. Martinez.

But Dancing's demands have a way of bringing out the diva in everyone. (Speaking of, glad to see rumors professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy wouldn't return were false; his hissy fits always lift the show when things get too boring.)

The new season begins with a two-hour special on March 19 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

'Dancing with the Stars' goes mainstream with new cast 02/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 6:51pm]
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