A Cancer Survivor, Science Guy & 'Showgirl': 'DWTS' Announces a Must-Watch Cast

Dancing with the Stars will feature its most notable -- and interesting -- cast in years this season, including Valerie Harper, Bill Nye and Elizabeth Berkley

On Wednesday, Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet revealed the cast of Dancing with the Stars, Season 17 on Good Morning America. Watch it here:

Frankly, we already knew most of the roster. (Disney, which owns ABC, is investigating who leaked most of this classified info last week.) But what producers lacked in secrecy, they made up for in quality. This diverse and interesting cast is one of the best in years. 

As always, the show and the entertainers/sports pros who signed on to boogie are hoping for a mutually beneficial outcome. What does, say, Jersey Shore's Snooki get from appearing on the show (besides the $125,000 for signing up, and several thousand per episode thereafter)? And what does DWTS get from having that Seaside Heights sun goddess on its dance floor? We weigh in… 

'Jersey Shore' star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (with Sasha Farber)


What's in it for the show: Jersey Shore's breakout star is a fount of confident cracks and silly malapropisms. So even if she's a terrible dancer, she'll be entertaining.  

What's in it for her: Cash. (Have you been to a club lately? Cover charges are through the roof!) And, of course, even more fame!


'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' star Valerie Harper (with Tristan MacManus)

What's in it for the show: A spunky, terminally ill competitor determined the beat the odds. Who's not going to tune in just to root for her?

What's in it for her: Harper's the sort of fun-loving spirit who'd embrace the feather boas and trendy music with gusto. We're surprised she hasn't already been part of this show.


'Saved by the Bell' and 'Showgirls' star Elizabeth Berkley (with Valentin Chmerkovskiy)

What's in it for the show: She's gorgeous, and she's got a cult following.

What's in it for her: 14 million viewers a week can do wonders for a flagging career.


'Glee' star Amber Riley (with Derek Hough)

What's in it for the show: Her association with Glee means she brings in young fans -- the demo DWTS (and nearly every other show on TV) wants. Plus, she can dance.

What's in it for her: No longer a cast regular on Glee, Riley could use some prime-time exposure to maintain her star status.


Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Keyshawn Johnson (with Sharna Burgess)

What's in it for the show: Pro sports stars tend to dominate in the ballroom. Johnson will probably deliver some good dancing.

What's in it for him: Why not? He's not playing football anymore.


'High School Musical' star Corbin Bleu (with Karina Smirnoff)

What's in it for the show: A handsome face, a young fan base, and an ability to dance.

What's in it for him: As Roshon Fegan, Chelsea Kane and Zendaya have already demonstrated, there's nothing like DWTS for raising a teen star's profile.


'King of Queens' star Leah Remini (with Tony Dovolani)

What's in it for the show: Remini's recent clashes with the Church of Scientology (and her outspoken nature in general) have already made her a personality to watch.

What's in it for her: She's weathered some negative fallout from her Scientology tussles, so this could reaffirm her likability with the public.


'The Voice' star Christina Milian (with Mark Ballas)

What's in it for the show: She's young, pretty and already a great dancer.

What's in it for her: Exposure, as she tries to reignite her flagging music career.


Bill Nye the Science Guy (with Tyne Stecklein)

What's in it for the show: He's a quirky pick, and an unlikely one. He'll bring a whole new set of fans to DWTS.

What's in it for him: Um, maybe he wants to learn to dance?


'Pretty Little Liars' and 'Army Wives' star Brant Daugherty (with Peta Murgatroyd)

What's in it for the show: He's this season's hunky soap star. Remember how much you enjoyed watching William Levy dance? Yeah, so that's why.

What's in it for him: Four times the number of viewers as the other shows he's been on.


Jack Osbourne (with Cheryl Burke)

What's in it for the show: Osbourne's got personality and three famous family members, who will no doubt join the audience to cheer him on.

What's in it for him: Not letting his sister Kelly Osbourne (a Season 9 contestant) have all the fun.


'Blue Collar Comedy' comedian Bill Engvall (and Emma Slater)

What's in it for the show: Red state viewers

What's in it for him: As a comedian, it's a chance to crack jokes for… yes, 14 million viewers.

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.

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