I definitely think MRS is only famous because of The Bachelor, but she made all the right moves to parlay public sympathy into DWTS, which elevated her profile even more. But then they try to bury all of The Bachelor nonsense and make it seem like she went straight to DWTS because she was a DCC. And I think it probably works just fine. People have very short memories, and if you tell them something is true enough times, they'll believe it. MRS is either a marketing genius or she had some great people on her team.
I am very curious about the distribution of revenue streams of the DCC, because I think they're having to play to ALL types of people to keep this thing going. The calendars vs. the average appearance attendee vs the MTT watcher. You're juggling a product intended for men (tho likely heavily bought by women for men) with a family friendly appearance schedule. They're lovely ambassadors for the Cowboys, and family friendly at parades, grocery store grand openings, camps, etc. And then you've got the average Making the Team viewer. I don't have an active account on Statista, but I would imagine it hits heavy in a 25-55 female demo. And of course the DCC only exist because of the football team, but truly, the Cowboys only have eight home games. EIGHT. Unless you're on show group and/or a lot of other non game performances, you aren't dancing that often. That's why weaker dancers often get a pass IMO, especially if they're exceptionally beautiful, talented or sparkling in personality. (Kat is a good example here, maybe even Kristen...I've got nothing for Meredith.)
So the DCC have to have massively broad appeal all put together in a pretty package. So it makes representation super important, IMO, but you've got to have a mix of looks (sexy, cute, girl next door, barbie, etc.) and a personality to boot. I doubt they ever struggle to attract talent. Many great dancers won't want the drama, but there will always be enough that qualify.