03/02/2007 at 09:00 AM EST
Now a new generation of viewers will know his name: Former Cheers
star John Ratzenberger will join the cast of Dancing with the Stars,
ABC announced Friday on Good Morning America.
Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin on the popular barroom sitcom for 11 seasons, will take the place of actor Vincent Pastore, who dropped out
of the competition earlier this week, claiming that the show's physical demands were too rigorous.
"Vincent just turned 60 and he had a heart condition last year," Dancing
producer Conrad Greene told PEOPLE. "Once he started training he said 'Wow. What have I got myself into?'"
As for Ratzenberger, despite having only three weeks to rehearse before the show's March 19 premiere, TV's favorite mailman hopes to deliver on the ballroom floor.
"He likes to cut a rug. People will be surprised," his rep tells PEOPLE.
Ratzenberger, 59, was invited by producers earlier this year to participate
in the show, but couldn't commit due to a scheduling conflict.
The actor will be paired with professional dancer Edyta Sliwinska, who danced with Joey Lawrence last season. He joins a cast that includes previously announced celebrity dancers Heather Mills, Joey Fatone, Ian
Ziering, Apolo Anton Ohno, Shandi Finnessey, Leeza Gibbons, Clyde Drexler, Billy Ray Cyrus, Laila Ali and Paulina Porizkova.