Confirmed: Kim Zolciak, Paula Deen join 'Dancing With the Stars'

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, August 27, 2015, updated Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Former Food Network star and Savannah doyenne Paula Deen and "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reality mainstay Kim Zolciak are set join the upcoming season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," according to E! Online.

UPDATE Wednesday, Sept. 2: ABC confirmed the E! Online report and introduced both Zolciak and Deen, who smartly promoted her new cookbook. Among others who are on the cast: wackadoodle actor Gary Busey, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, R&B legend Chaka Khan, pop singer Andy Grammer, reality star and R&B singer Tamar Braxton and Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinosa. The entire cast can be found here. Overall, this is a more interesting cast than this past spring.

Zolciak spent four-plus seasons with "Real Housewives" but found going to parties and arguing with the other ladies tiresome. She quit partway through season five. But she did meet her husband Kroy Biermann on the show, ironically at a 2010 event modeled after "Dancing With the Stars." Biermann had participated. Zolciak swooned. They got married soon after.

She quickly had four kids with Biermann on top of two existing teen-age girls. She was able to parlay her life into a successful spin-off show called "Don't Be Tardy," now in its fourth season.

Zolciak is not known to be terribly athletic, based on her reality TV show image. She'd rather have plastic surgery done over working out. Choreography was pretty minimalistic when she performed her song "Don't Be Tardy for the Party" at a live event a few seasons back. (See below.)

So the poor professional dancer who takes her on will have his hands full. How will she handle 10-hour rehearsals in a dance studio?

Her former "Real Housewives" mate NeNe Leakes finished seventh during the 18th season of "Dancing With the Stars" in the spring of 2014.

Deen, who now runs her own subscription based channel after a long stint on Food Network, seems more easy going and has certainly done a dance or two on TV:

Deen's star rose and fell like a souffle after she admitted to using racially inflammatory language in the past in 2013. Food Network dropped her and several high profile endorsers disappeared. Last year, a private equity firm invested $75 million to resurrect her image.

This "Dancing" gig would be her highest-profile TV appearance since that mess.

ABC will officially announce the entire cast on Wednesday, September 2 on "Good Morning America." The season returns Monday, September 14.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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