(NEW YORK) — The lineup for the new season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars was revealed on Tuesday’s Good Morning America along with their professional partners, but one name was glaringly absent: Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The 33-year-old pro says he’s ditching his dancing shoes for Hollywood.
“I’ve been a pro dancer on the show for about seven years now and am eager to explore other opportunities that have been made possible because of the show,” Chmerkovskiy, via his rep, told ABC News Radio. “I’m going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations.”
Fans of Chmerkovskiy weren’t surprised, as he’s long hinted of leaving the show.
In a TV Guide blog post last year he wrote, “To be honest, I have many offers and I might need a break…The audience can’t expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can’t expect me to want to stick around.”
And if his past DWTS partner Kirstie Alley has anything to do with it, Chmerkovskiy may have an acting gig in the pipeline. She told Life & Style that she wants him on her new TV Land series Giant Baby. He guest-starred as a ballroom dancer last year in the July 25 episode in The Exes, where he danced opposite of star Kristen Johnston.
Chmerkovskiy isn’t the only dancer not returning to DWTS. Pros Anna Trebunskaya, Chelsie Hightower and Louis Van Amstel are also not returning this season.
An ABC spokesperson says in a statement that it’s nothing personal that the dancers weren’t asked back, adding, “We frequently rotate the professional dancers, so it is not unusual for them to rest a cycle. As we consider who will be matched up each season, there are a lot of factors that dictate which couples make the best pairings.”
“We appreciate each of our dancers’ dedication to the show, so this is a very difficult decision. Anna, Chelsie, Louis and Maks continue to be a part of the Dancing with the Stars family,” the statement concluded.
Returning pro Cheryl Burke is sad to see that some of her colleagues won’t be joining her in the ballroom again this spring.
She tells ABC News Radio, “These are friends that I’ve known since before the show even started.”
However, Burke adds that “it’s nice to have fresh new meat,” meaning new Dancing with the Stars pros Gleb Savchenko, Sharna Burgess and Lindsay Arnold.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com