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'DWTS' 2014 rumors: Harold Wheeler Orchestra axed from season 18?

Amber Riley and Derek Hough won 'DWTS' season 17, the Harold Wheeler Orchestra's last as a show fixture.
Amber Riley and Derek Hough won 'DWTS' season 17, the Harold Wheeler Orchestra's last as a show fixture.
Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

When "Dancing with the Stars" 2014 premieres March 17 on ABC, the Harold Wheeler Orchestra won't be on hand to usher in the festivities, according to a Jan. 31 Facebook post by lead trumpet player Rick Baptist.

According to Baptist, on Jan. 30, Wheeler informed members of his orchestra, which served as a fixture on the hit reality dance competition since the show's inception in 2005, that they'd been replaced by "records and a small electronic band" for the show's upcoming 18th season.

The move was allegedly made by "DWTS" producers in an attempt to "attract a younger demographic."

Baptist, who also worked on "Ratatouille" and "The Incredibles," asked that fans concerned over the orchestra's removal contact Candice.A.Ashton@abc.com with ABC entertainment to share their sentiments.

Show fans took to Twitter to share their opinions on the orchestra's ouster. User @LondonAftrMidn mused over the real reason behind the change and predicted trouble in the future, writing "No more Harold Wheeler Orch. A futile attempt at attracting a younger demo or a cost-saving measure? #SinkingShip"

User @KathyErdman2 expressed her sentiments bluntly, tweeting the network "@DancingABC How could you replace Harold Wheeler & his awesome orchestra! BIG MISTAKE!! #DWTS"

With or without live music, "Dancing with the Stars" 2014 premieres March 17 on ABC with an all new cast of celebrity mirror ball trophy hopefuls.