ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” will celebrate its 10th anniversary next season in the spring, but one of its veterans won’t be there for the festivities.
After teasing her departure for weeks, dance pro Cheryl Burke has decided to leave the ABC dance competition when her contract expires with Tuesday’s finale.
“Cheryl has been on the show for close to 10 years,” “DWTS” executive producer Rob Wade told TheWrap exclusively. “She has done a great service to the show and I think she feels that it’s time for her to move on.”
Burke, 30, who has been with the show since its second season, was eliminated along with her partner, soap opera actor and model Antonio Sabato Jr., on Week 5 of Season 19 in late-October. She’s the show’s first female pro to win two consecutive mirror-ball trophies.
Wade feels that the popular pro’s exit gives the series a chance to highlight other dancers.
“We’ll only survive as a show if we keep innovating and changing. It’s very sad to see cast members leave, but again that gives you the opportunity to grow. So, I’m quite positive about having the opportunity to bring new people in or bring back some of the old faces.”
Additionally, head judge Len Goodman, who took a several weeks off this past season due to conflicts with shooting the show’s U.K. version, will be back full-time on Season 20. And although there’s some scheduling conflicts still to be resolved, Julianne Hough is also contracted to return in the spring to the judges’ table.
“A judging panel isn’t about individuals. It’s about chemistry. That has happened remarkably quickly for Julianne in that role,” Wade said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
“I think the ballroom experience and the dance experience and the star quality and vibrancy that Julianne has brought to the panel has been exceptional,” he continued. “I also think that the way that Carrie Ann [Inaba], Bruno [Tonioli] and Len have embraced her and have individually been so great this season, as well, has been wonderful. I think it shows their character that they can do that. The three of them have been absolutely wonderful in welcoming Julianne in and I think it has been lovely to watch.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated when Burke joined the show. TheWrap regrets the error.