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TELEVISION

New stars set for `Dancing'

February 22, 2007|Maria Elena Fernandez | Times Staff Writer

ABC announced the cast for the fourth season of its mega hit "Dancing With the Stars" on Wednesday, and if you thought it couldn't get any more interesting than Emmitt Smith and Jerry Springer, you were very, very wrong.

The new season returns March 19 with a two-hour performance special that will pit Heather Mills, the estranged wife of Paul McCartney and the first contestant to compete with an artificial limb, against Laila Ali, the world champion boxer and daughter of Muhammad Ali.

The two fighters -- Mills is an activist for animal rights and the elimination of land mines -- will compete against singer Billy Ray Cyrus, NBA all-star Clyde Drexler, Vincent Pastore of "The Sopranos," model Paulina Porizkova, Olympic gold medalist Apolo Anton Ohno, actor and musician Joey Fatone, 2004 Miss USA Shandi Finnessey and talk show host Leeza Gibbons. Ian Ziering of "Beverly Hills, 90210" will pair with professional dancer Cheryl Burke, who led Drew Lachey and Smith to victories in the last two seasons. To avoid the "American Idol" monster, ABC has moved the performance shows to 8 p.m. Mondays and the results shows to 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

maria.elena.fernandez@latimes.com

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