NEWS

Is Maksim Chmerkovskiy Returning to 'Dancing With the Stars'?

by Philiana Ng 5:34 PM PDT, August 24, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

A Dancing With the Stars favorite could be headed back to the dance floor.

A source spotted Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who is expecting his first child with fiancee Peta Murgatroyd, at a season 23 cast photo shoot for ABC’s reality competition series on Wednesday.

Could this mean that the pro dancer is making a triumphant return to DWTS? Chmerkovskiy, 36, last competed with partner Meryl Davis on season 18, during which they took home the mirror ball trophy. ET has reached out to ABC for comment.

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Chmerkovskiy’s younger brother, Val, is one of the nine pros already announced for the new season, which also include Emma Slater, Witney Carson, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Lindsay Arnold, Sasha Farber, Gleb Savchenko and Allison Holker.

In 2014, fresh off his big DWTS win, Chmerkovskiy told ET he likely wouldn’t be returning to the show.

“I don’t think so,” Chmerkovskiy said when asked if he would be returning the following season. “This is exhausting. It has nothing to do with money. The first thing that I did after hugging her [Meryl] … was come up to Derek [Hough] and I was like, ‘Dude, I don’t know how you do it.’ He did it five times. I have no idea.”

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A year later, Chmerkovskiy was even more definite in his answer when approached about his DWTS future, saying in a 2015 interview he’s “definitely not” coming back to the show that made him famous.

“You have to walk away when the time is right, and the time was right,” he told Glamour at the time. “I think the change of guard is necessary. Like a plant that in order to improve growth, you have to pull branches. It’s the same thing. Every now and again, everything needs to be refreshed.”

Meanwhile, DWTS is starting to shore up its celebrity cast. In addition to Amber Rose, ET has learned that former Disney Channel and The Fosters star Jake T. Austin is “100 percent” set, while General Hospital’s Emma Samms is “definitely in.”

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Fans won’t get the official word until the full cast is revealed on Aug. 30.

Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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