Sad news for "Dancing With the Stars" fans. An executive producer for the ABC show said Len Goodman is exiting as a judge ahead of the Season 21 premiere. Rumors of his departure began circulating in December, though nothing was confirmed until now.
In a report by Glamour, executive producer Rob Wade confirmed Goodman's departure, chalking it up to scheduling conflicts. In a brief statement released to the publication, Wade said that between judging "Strictly Come Dancing UK" and his new role as a grandfather, Goodman, 71, simply couldn't make "DWTS" work. He assured fans that there was no bad blood and Goodman may still be involved in Season 21 "at some capacity." Wade confirmed that Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Julianne Hough, who recently got engaged, will continue as judges.
In other "DWTS" news, professional dancer Karina Smirnoff will be returning for Season 21. The 37-year-old sat out last season, but confirmed on Instagram this week she will be back in the ballroom. Val Chmerkovskiy, who won Season 20 alongside partner Rumer Willis, also recently announced his return to the dancing competition series.
As we previously reported, producers are working hard to make Season 21 of "DWTS" the best yet. Wade and co-executive producer Deena Katz told Glamour they planned to start "taking risks" to heat up the competition. One of those risks includes a concept called the "Switch Up," in which the professional dancers must take on a new celebrity partner for one episode. Casting for the series is "just about done," according to Katz. In fact, as of Aug. 11, she claimed they were "4/5 of the way there."
The "DWTS" Season 21 cast will be announced on "Good Morning America" Wednesday, Sept. 2. The show will premiere on Monday, Sept. 14, on ABC.