Well, this is interesting. To me, it confirms that Derek is a free agent and he and Rob worked it out that he doesn’t have to “close the door” completely. And that he’ll be back is Season 21 for some crazy ass reason. I guess he does love the show and is loyal. Rob also says when we can expect to hear which pros are competing – in E! News:
“Well, he’s not leaving. He’s sitting out a season,” executive producer Rob Wade tells E! News. “And it’s amazing that we started this show, 10 years ago, I think Derek started in season two or three and now he got an opportunity to be on Broadway. It’s amazing that our dancers can grow to a place where they can do something like that and come back.”
“It was tough for him. We had a real heart to heart. It wasn’t an easy decision and it was difficult because I feel like, if not a father, a bit of an uncle to these guys and he was struggling with it so much,” Wade says. “I was like, ‘Look, you don’t have to close a door. You can leave a door open and go off, come back in the fall. I don’t want you to leave more than that and I’ll let you go off and do this. We’ll allow that.’ He was very grateful.”
When DWTS announces its cast of pros in “early to mid February,” Wade says fans can expect to see a mix of familiar faces and newcomers as dancers sitting out gives them the chance to “bring new people in, give other people a chance. I’m excited by that because I want to see new characters come in.”
But will other fan favorites, like Mark Ballas and Valentin Chmervoskiy, definitely be returning to the ballroom?
“Mark I know definitely wants to come back, and Val, and so on,” Wade says.
ETA: Glamour has interviewed Rob Wade. You can read the full interview at this link. He talks on what they hope to bring to the table for Season 20 and lots more. Here is a take from the link…
Rob Wade: It’s exciting. It’s going to be a fresh season, and we’re really excited to celebrate the best of the show, but also to continue to innovate. We are going to expand on viewer interaction and hand more power to the viewers. All-Access will be bigger and better, and also we’re going to expand that behind-the-scenes access from not just the performance night, but to live feeds of rehearsals throughout the week at McCadden [where the dancers rehearse].
Joe Sungkur: So you can imagine how good that will be!
Rob: So if you’re at work during the day and wondering what your favorite couple might be doing, you can click on that and watch them rehearse.
Joe: And you can totally come on All-Access! That’s for sure!
Glamour: 100%! I would love to!
Joe: You’d be so great. We’d love to have you there.
Glamour: A couple weeks ago, I wrote about what I wanted to see DWTS do for season 20, one of which was an expansion to two nights a week again. Any chance of that happening?
Rob: In terms of schedule, we’re still going to be focused on Mondays at the moment, but things might change. We have a constant dialogue with ABC, and we’d be very happy to bring [Tuesday] back, but we like the show at one night a week and we like the show at two nights a week. One of the things that will be important is that we are upping the ante and expanding the show openers, giving the viewers more access to the backstage area and the couples than ever before. We are going to bring back some fan favorites, we are going to bring back Disney week, classical week. At the same time, we have new ideas that hopefully will provide more drama, more humor than ever before. We’re excited about it, and the tempo of the show from last season was very important. It felt like you weren’t sure what was going to happen from week to week and that will be the same. It won’t feel like the same show twice.
ETA2: There is also a new interview with Rob Wade at The TV Page. He talks of how Len may not be retiring afterall.
Wade says there is “every chance that Len will be back” for season 22 in the spring of 2016. “He wants to be back and we need to consider that.”
In the meantime, there is no rush to find a replacement, Wade says.
“We have four judges at the moment. Len goes and we have three. But we had three judges for a long time. So we can always stick with three.”