‘DWTS’ Judge Leaving: Len Goodman Departing ‘Dancing With The Stars’ For Season 21

Season 21 of Dancing With the Stars premieres in September, but one DWTS judge is leaving. Though this had been on everybody’s radar for a bit, it’s now official. Len Goodman is not returning to the show this next season.

People details that Len Goodman has decided it is time to take a break from his Dancing With the Stars gig. The DWTS judge is leaving after 20 seasons, a decision he initially started talking about last December. Goodman stuck around for the big 10th anniversary season this past spring, but now he’s taking a step back.

Executive producer Rob Wade confirms that the DWTS judge is leaving. Wade notes that as expected, Goodman will stick with Strictly Come Dancing airing in the United Kingdom, and he’ll be letting go of his regular judge’s chair on Dancing With the Stars in the United States. However, Wade says that Len may still have a hand in Season 21, though nothing has been firmed up yet.

While one DWTS judge is leaving, the three others from last season remain. Julianne Hough, who just got engaged to hockey player Brooks Laich, is back, and she’ll sit next to veterans Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. What about a fourth judge? At this point, Wade indicates that they’ll be lining up guest judges. However, there’s been a lot of speculation about just what is coming.

As PureDWTS notes, there had been a lot of rumors floating around in the midst of the speculation that one DWTS judge was leaving. It seemed that dance pro Tony Dovolani was hoping to get a shot at the gig, and a lot of buzz was building that Latin American champion Michael Wentink might be positioned for the spot.

While Dovolani has not yet been announced as a Season 21 Dancing With the Stars pro, it’s also been confirmed that he won’t be a judge. Variety is reporting that the show will not be appointing a permanent fourth judge for Season 21. For now, fans will have to stay tuned to see how the show handles the judge’s panel in this coming season.

As for the celebrity cast, that will be announced on September 2. There are rumors swirling, and plenty of Dancing With the Stars spoilers should be emerging in the next week or so. When it comes to the pro slate, nine of the 12 names were released this week.

As had been expected, Karina Smirnoff, Derek Hough, Val Chmerkovskiy, and many other fan favorites are returning. The remaining three pros apparently will also be announced on Good Morning America on September 2.

Are you sad to hear that a DWTS judge is leaving? Should Dancing With the Stars fill that fourth judge’s spot, go back to three, or rotate in guest judges? Season 21, without Len Goodman, premieres on September 14.

[Photo by Simon Burchell / Getty Images]