I also believe that Dorothy herself made the decision to leave, but put it off for as long as she possibly could. Ambivalence is mostly what I get from the AfterBuzz clip. I don't believe that the show forced her to quit. They could have gotten way more drama out of letting her continue the show injured, like they have out of all the other celebrities who continued the show injured. And really, you could interpret the whole "We just confirmed during the break" thing as TPTB giving Dorothy one last opportunity to change her mind about quitting, after having the whole day to reconsider, and knowing that she was safe. Of course, at that point, seeing Victor, Lisa, and her new dear friend Andy awaiting their fate, the final confirmation might have become a whole lot easier. But it was always her decision to make, imho.
ITA with this, and I think it's probably more likely that TPTB were begging her to stay, hence her ambivalence and putting off the decision until her doctors unequivocally ordered her to drop out. If it's true that they've been after her since season 2, and that she was called in late in the game to replace a drop-out, it makes even more sense that this is the scenario. This also means that it was not her fault for setting Tristan up for another short season.
Because ratings have been consistently going down for the last few seasons, and Dorothy was one of the bigger and best known draws on the cast this season, it only makes sense that they would beg her to stay. I think they know they are going to lose a lot of viewers with her and Tristan's departure (me included). He was another one they knew they could ill afford to lose as he is popular and has not had an even break in the last few seasons either. Hence even more people tuning out as a result. TPTB know this, hence my theory is the reverse of Elsa's.
It's not just skewing toward younger pros but younger contestants too. I think they're doing it to encourage younger viewers but they're only going to alienate the older ones like me. What happened to a little of everything to round out the cast?
Is DWTS turning into New Coke? Alienating its loyal fanbase in search of a younger demographic, then winding up with neither?
Could be. I kind of think so, although I think all of TV is doing this lately. The more they try to attract younger viewers, the more they put everyone off, including those younger viewers. I think it's a perpetual thorn in TV executives' sides that their biggest audiences continue to be Boomers, especially now that most of us are over 54 (I am just 54 myself), which is not so coincidentally when we somehow become completely uninteresting to advertisers. Supposedly we are seen as unnecessary to advertise to because we are seen as "easy targets". Never mind that 50% of every dollar spent is spent by someone over 50, or will be within the next few years. But that's another rant.
I just wish they could find a way to keep everyone happy. I thought DWTS was doing this in seasons past by having a "something for everyone" kind of cast. Perhaps this season didn't come together the way it was intended for any number of reasons. I have to wonder whether there is some reason it's becoming more difficult for them to attract the people they would like to attract. They probably pressured Dorothy to join the cast as hard as they possibly could. And why? Because other stars were unwilling to join or were pressured and then dropped out? I kind of think that stars who join the cast under such pressure aren't really all that invested in the show to begin with. If they have to pressure people that hard there must be some reason why major, well known stars are becoming reluctant to be on the show.