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Why Billy Dee Williams addition to the DWTS cast is a smart move

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The new cast of Dancing with the Stars was announced on Tuesday, March 4 on Good Morning America at 8:17 a.m. by hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. Rumors were already swirling that film legend Billy Dee Williams, known for his iconic role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, was among the cast and this morning fans got their official confirmation.

The move is sure to send fans of the force into overdrive and serve as a brilliant pre-cursor to Star Wars: Episode VII due out in 2015. While sci-fi fans are not typically DWTS fans, a good portion might tune in to get intel on the latest sequel. Williams is rumored to reprise his role in the upcoming film but when asked by Bergeron about his Star Wars status, the star answered coyly, "I don't know".

It's a smart marketing move. Disney is the parent company of ABC which airs DWTS and holds the rights to LucasFilms and the Star Wars franchise. By adding Williams to the cast, they can not only create buzz for the impending sequel, but also boost ratings for the lagging reality show. DWTS has been in a ratings slump for the past 6 seasons and it is currently in season 18.

So far Williams is clearly one of the stars of the cast, garnering the most applause during the announcement on GMA. The rest of the cast contains 80's and 90's TV favorites, Sochi Olympians, controversial reality stars and a daytime TV host. Only time will tell if Williams will have an effect but for now he will be riding high once again. The complete list of cast members and their partners is below.

DWTS Season 18 Pairings

Danica McKellar, The Wonder Years dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy

Cody Simpson, Australian Pop Star dancing with Whitney Carson (new dancer)

Billy Dee Williams, "Star Wars" franchise dancing with Emma Slater

Diana Nyad, World Champion Swimmer dancing with Henry Byalikov (new dancer)

Nene Lekes, Real Housewives of Atlanta dancing with Tony Dovolani

James Maslow, Big Time Rush dancing with Peta Mergatroyd

Sean Avery, NHL Hockey Player dancing with Karina Smirnoff

Drew Carrey, The Price Is Right dancing with Cheryl Burke

Candice Cameron Bure, Full House dancing with Mark Ballas

Charlie White, Ice skater dancing with Sharna Burgess

Meryl Davis, Ice skater dancing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Amy Purdy, Double amputee Olympic snowboarder with Derek Hough

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