Former Texas governor Rick Perry will pair with Emma Slater on "Dancing with the Stars," which starts its new season on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Craig Sjodin/ABC)

Former Texas governor Rick Perry will pair with Emma Slater on "Dancing with the Stars," which starts its new season on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Craig Sjodin/ABC)

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Exactly how does one make their way onto the Dancing With the Stars cast? 

It starts with casting director Deena Katz. 

You could compare her job to that of a professional sports team's general manager. She's tasked with putting together a team of personalities who might be at the top of their games — or have baggage — and find a way to blend them into a polished unit with other veteran pros for a series of nationally televised competitions. 

According to Slate.com, Katz spends hours online each night, going through gossip sites, sizing up prospective contestants like ... a general manager. She's looking for prospects who are current, topical, with just a dash of nostalgia. 

About 90 percent of the time, Katz makes the outreach. 

Olympic athletes Laurie Hernandez and Ryan Lochte appeared on "Good Morning America" with Tom Bergeron on Monday, Aug. 30, 2016. Both will appear on the new season of "Dancing with the Stars," which starts its new season on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Lou Rocco/ABC)

Olympic athletes Laurie Hernandez and Ryan Lochte appeared on "Good Morning America" with Tom Bergeron on Monday, Aug. 30, 2016. Both will appear on the new season of "Dancing with the Stars," which starts its new season on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Lou Rocco/ABC)

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That was apparently the case for former Texas governor Rick Perry, who was named to the Season 23 cast Tuesday. Perry told The Texas Tribune that he was contacted by the ABC show's producers six weeks ago. He turned down the invitation at first, then had a change of heart when he realized it would give him an opportunity to promote veterans' awareness and to learn to dance ahead of his daughter's fall wedding. 

In Katz's recruiting process, she sells contestants on the chance to target an audience out of their comfort zone and to give a different look at the way their fans perceive them, according to Slate. Owning up to perceptions, either good or bad, is handled in Week 1. 

"You say it, you come clean, and then it's over," Katz told Slate. "The elephant in the room is gone. Then you can control the narrative." 

Katz has been successful in signing up celebs such as Jerry Springer, Marla Maples, Nancy Grace, Paula Deen and Bristol Palin. This season's cast also includes troubled Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and rapper-turned-contractor Vanilla Ice, who grew up in Carrollton.  

"For your marketing, for your career, this is like Willy Wonka's golden ticket," Katz told Salon. 

Cody Linley and his partner Julianne Hough compete during the semi-finals of "Dancing with the Stars"  in 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ABC, Kelsey McNeal)

Cody Linley and his partner Julianne Hough compete during the semi-finals of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ABC, Kelsey McNeal)

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Katz is also known to turn to her family for casting advice. Her husband picked out Steve Wozniak and Gary Busey. Her tween daughter's influence prompted the selection of Texan Cody Linley, who had been a regular on Hannah Montana, in Season 7. 

"Her daughter had seen me on Hannah Montana, so as soon as I went into the meeting [with Katz], it kind of sealed the deal," said Linley, a Lewisville native who's coming off a role in the latest Sharknado sequel. 

"My agent also repped Billy Ray Cyrus, so I guess my agent pitched the idea to [Katz} and said 'Oh. Wait a minute. I know him. My daughter knows him.' " 

Linley is enthused to see Perry cut a rug on the ABC show, which premieres Sept. 12, 7 p.m. 

"I wish him luck," Lindley said. "It's not easy. At all. It's a good way to not taking yourself too serious. I think it's cool that a politician is going into something like dancing."

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