(Reuters) – Actresses Valerie Harper, who is battling cancer, and Leah Remini will join reality TV star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson for the 17th season of the hit TV competition “Dancing With the Stars.”
The celebrities, whose names were announced Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” are among 12 celebrities who will be paired with professional dancers on the show that will premiere on the ABC network on September 16.
Harper, 74, a four-time Emmy Award winner for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the hit 1970s TV comedy “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the spin-off “Rhoda,” said her condition was improving.
“The brain scans you get every two months are looking better and better and better. My doctors, the neurologist and my lung cancer (doctor) because that is what it is. It is in the brain but it is not brain cancer. They are just delighted that I am moving in the right direction,” she told “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts, herself a cancer survivor.
Remini, 43, recently left the Church of Scientology and is planning to publish a memoir. When asked to size up the competition, the star of the CBS comedy “The King of Queens” said, “Pretty stiff, pretty stiff.”
The celebrities will be taught dances such as the tango, rumba and foxtrot on the hit show.
The cast is completed by actors Brant Daugherty, best known for his role on the TV series “Pretty Little Liars,” and Corbin Bleu, of the film “High School Musical;” actresses Elizabeth Berkley and Amber Riley; Bill Nye, an American educator and actor known as the “Science Guy”; Jack Osbourne, who appeared on the reality show “The Osbournes” with his parents Ozzy and Sharon; R&B singer Christina Milian and comedian Bill Engvall.
The show will air one night a week for two hours and viewers can vote for their favorite celebrity. Former “American Idol” finalist Kellie Pickler and her professional dancing partner Derek Hough won the competition last season.