Paula Deen loves salsa ... just not salsa dancing.
A Dancing With the Stars source says the former Food Network star, 66, was in fact courted by the ABC show, but turned down an offer to compete this fall.
"The dance floor is not the appropriate forum for her," explains a source, though it's unclear why, as it's one of the easiest and best PR boosts around.
DWTS co-host Tom Bergeron hopes she'll reconsider, since, "We've seen career resurgences after the show. People go, 'I remember why I love that person!'"
Professional dancer Cheryl Burke also pitched for Paula:
"Right now, lots of controversial things are happening around her and her situation, and I think coming on something light and fun would be good for her."
The star has also lost multiple endorsement deals as she continue to fight the discrimination and harassment claims from Lisa Jackson, which she denies.
Season 17 of Dancing With the Stars returns Monday, September 16 (no results shows this year). The new cast will be unveiled by ABC on September 4.