Maksim Chmerkovskiy Sitting Out Season 16 Of 'Dancing With The Stars'
A whole new cast of celebrities and a pair of new pros will hit the floor for the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars; but one of the show's favorite dancers, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, won't be returning for the 16th (yes, 16th) season of the show.
Chmerkovskiy issued a statement on Tuesday after the announcement of the new cast to set things straight for his fans.
"I just want to set the record straight to all of my amazing fans that I will unfortunately not be returning for this season of Dancing with the Stars," he said. "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 Dancing with the Stars. I'm going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations."
Chmerikovskiy, who joined the show in its second season and then sat out for its sixth, has kept the door open for returning. The dancer is under contract until 2015; and last fall he told TV Guide that he "won't re-sign" after that.
"A big thank you to all of my fans for your never-ending support," he added in his statement. "I also want to thank the entire cast and production of Dancing with the Stars."
ABC released a statement about Chmerkovskiy's departure this morning also.
"We frequently rotate the professional dancers," a spokesperson for ABC said, " so it is not unusual for them to rest a cycle."
Maksim has made it to the final round four times without winning the Mirror Ball Trophy; coming in second place twice and third place twice. His past partners include Spice Girl Melanie Brown, sportscaster Erin Andrews, boxer Laila Ali and actress Kirstie Alley twice.
His worst finish? 12th place with partner Denise Richards.
Season 16 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, March 18 on ABC. Here's the next cast:
Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump (paired with new pro Gleb Savchenko)
Boxer Victor Ortiz (paired with new pro Lindsay Arnold)
Singer Kellie Pickler (dancing with three-time champ Derek Hough)
Actor/comedian D.L. Hughley (dancing with Cheryl Burke)
Gymnast Aly Raisman (dancing with Mark Ballas)
Country singer Wynonna Judd (dancing with Tony Dovolani)
Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill (dancing with Tristan MacManus)
Soap actor Ingo Rademacher (dancing with Kym Johnson)
Disney star Zendaya Coleman (dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy)
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (dancing with Karina Smirnoff)
Comedian Andy Dick (dancing with Sharna Burgess)