LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bristol Palin is strapping on her dancing shoes again, shrugging off harsh publicity about her family’s burgeoning profile in the TV reality industry and saying she is just trying to provide for her young son.
Palin, 21, will be one of 13 celebrity contestants for the first all-star version of the television show “Dancing with the Stars” in September, broadcaster ABC said on Friday.
The single mom and daughter of conservative politician Sarah Palin came in third in her first appearance on the ballroom contest in 2010 despite criticism from judges over her wooden style of dancing.
She will join former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson, pop singer Drew Lachey, ex-“Cheers” actress Kirstie Alley, gymnast Shawn Johnson and others for “Dancing with the Stars: All Stars” starting on September 24.
“I just think that God provides opportunities like this and you can either do them or not do them. I figure the press will talk about me no matter what, so I may as well have some fun,” Palin told television reporters on Friday.
It’s the latest foray into reality TV for the Palin clan, which became a national obsession when Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was picked as Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and was seen as a possible 2012 U.S. presidential contender.
Bristol, who is now a paid speaker for teen abstinence, is currently appearing with her three-year-old son, Tripp, sister Willow and other family members in her own reality venture “Life’s a Tripp.” The show got scathing reviews and draws an audience of less than one million.
In 2010, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” showed the Palins and their five children at work and play in their home state. Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, is appearing in August in a new NBC show “Stars Earn Stripes” in which celebrities are put through their paces by military trainers.
Pressed to answer whether she liked the benefits associated with reality stardom, Bristol said on Friday: “Do I like to provide for my son? Yes, I do.”
She dismissed suggestions from journalists that her family had become full-blown reality show staples.
“It’s definitely not our family business,” she said.
The other all-stars called back for the upcoming season are actress Kelly Monaco, reality star Melissa Rycroft, singer Joey Fatone, football player Emmitt Smith, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, race car driver Helio Castroneves and actor Gilles Marini.
A 13th celebrity contestant for the TV dance competition will be voted on by the public, who will be asked to choose between celebrity stylist Carson Kressley, former Disney Channel actor Kyle Massey and ex-Cheetah Girls pop singer Sabrina Bryan.
The all-stars series follows a dip in ratings last season although the show remains an audience favorite and was among the five most-watched on U.S. television in the season which ended in May.
ABC is a unit of Walt Disney Co.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney and Prudence Crowther