"Internal data shows that Carole Baskin is one of the main reasons people have tuned into DWTS this season, which is why the show is doing everything in its power to make sure Carole doesn’t get voted off any time soon," a source exclusively tells OK!.
"Tyra Banks might claim the ratings are up 30 percent for the premiere because of her, but everyone knows the real reason is because of Carole. They have done everything they can to keep the cat lady on the show," the insider dishes.
In fact, the producers "give Carole the best music, wardrobe, lighting and position in the lineup to dance," the source divulges. "Carole is a ratings machine, and no one wants to mess with that. Plus, the rules changed last season for the first time, allowing the judges to save one of the couples in the bottom two. This means the viewers only get a say in which two couples end up in the bottom, but the judges ultimately decide who goes home."
Since the model is an executive producer, she "loves this rule" and has "the final decision each week" as to who she kicks off — especially if they aren't "helping her get ratings," the source adds. "Carole's going nowhere. Tyra knows it, and so do all the other celebrities."
On Monday, September 14, the Netflix star danced to Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' alongside her partner, Pasha Pashkov, and earned the lowest score of the night — 11 out of 30 points.
During the second week of the reality show, Baskin, 59, was in the bottom three again. Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten, Charles Oakley and Emma Slater and Baskin and Pashkov all scored 15 out of 30 points.
Baskin and Oakley were on the chopping block this week, and the judges had the power as to who would move onto week 3. Carrie Ann Inaba and Derek Hough voted to save Baskin and Pasha, while Bruno Toniolo voted for Oakley and Slater. As a result, the NBA star and Slater were sent packing.
Despite Baskin not being able to bust a move, Schulman exclusively told OK! he gives her "props" for going on the show in the first place. "That is so outside of her wheelhouse," he shared. "She really put herself out there, and I do have to commend her for saying yes and doing it because I think that definitely took a lot of guts."