Maksim Chmerkovskiy is returning to “Dancing With The Stars” for the show’s 18th season, following a two season hiatus. The news comes after ABC producers replaced former co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet with ESPN reporter and former contestant Erin Andrews.
“Chmerkovskiy will return once again as a dancing pro, making this his 15th season in the role,” Us Weekly reported. “The veteran dancer left the reality show back in 2012 after his contract had expired on what was believed to have been tense terms.”
Sources claimed, also to Us Weekly, that producers had chosen Andrews because they are in the market for younger viewers.
“Everyone loved [Brooke], but the execs wanted a whole new show,” the source revealed.
And, according to the report, Andrews’ “young male following” was a major draw for ABC. “They’re desperate for those viewers,” the source added.
Burke-Charvet was reportedly shocked by her elimination.
“I have enjoyed seven seasons co-hosting DWTS but understand the need for change considering the position of the show at this juncture,” she said in a statement to E! News. “I’ve always been one to embrace change and looking forward to pursuing opportunities I previously wasn’t able to entertain because of contractual obligations to the show. I’ve seen my fair share of shocking eliminations in the ballroom but this one takes the cake.”
After Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s season 15 exit from the show, Chmerkovskiy spoke to “The New York Post” regarding his decision.
“What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons?” Chmerkovskiy told the paper. “It makes total sense. The audience can’t expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can’t expect for me to want to stick around.”
At the time, Chmerkovskiy claimed that his choice to leave the show was in hopes of branching out into other aspects of show business.
“Essentially, 80 percent of our job is to give somebody another push in their career,” he explained. “I loved doing it. But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time. I wish [the show] the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me.”
Once Chmerkovskiy completes the upcoming season of “Dancing With The Stars,” he will become the third longest tenured professional on the series. Only Cheryl Burke and Tony Dovolani, who will have 17 seasons under their belts, will have been with the show for longer.
“Dancing With The Stars” season 18 premieres March 17 on ABC.
Photo Courtesy of Richard Harbaugh/ABC
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