Professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy was reportedly offered a place on the "Dancing with the Stars" judging panel, but he turned it down to come back as a dancer.
Chmerkovskiy is returning to the show after a two-season break and season 18 will see him paired with Olympian Meryl Davis, who won gold in ice dancing at the Sochi Olympics.
"I had that option," he told Today of his season 18 role. "I can't reveal a lot, but I was offered a judge's position on the show. This was my decision (to return as a pro)."
In all his 13 seasons on the show, Chmerkovskiy has never won the mirror ball trophy, despite reaching the finals three times. But what prompted him to give up the judging gig for the role of a dancer was Davis, Chmerkovskiy said.
"There was a moment when I asked myself, 'Why? Why? Why? You've done enough! Another 10 weeks of routines and stress and pressure?'" he said. "I got (Meryl Davis) and said, 'OK! That's why!' We'll see what happens."
"I'm very grateful to the show," Chmerkovskiy explained.
Interestingly, Chmerkovskiy saying no to the judging gig might have saved one of the permanent judges on the dancing reality show's panel from getting the boot. Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonolio have been regulars on the panel since the early days of DWTS.
Was DWTS hoping to replace one of them by extending the role to Chmerkovskiy? And more importantly, will there be a change in the judging panel during season 18? It is too soon to say, but show sources confirmed to Today that all the original judges will be back for Season 18.
In recent times, DWTS has been making a lot of changes to the show believed to be as part of its cost cutting measures. This included firing longtime host Brooke Burke Charvet, and also letting go of Harold Wheeler and his 28 member band.
ABC did not divulge the reasons for letting these two longtime members go, instead thanked them for their contribution.
"Our talented Music Director, Harold Wheeler, will not be joining us for season 18 of Dancing with the Stars," the network said in a statement cited by the media.
"Since season one, Harold and his band have performed brilliant music in our ballroom for our dancers and the American viewers at home. We are grateful to him and his band for their amazing work and years of collaboration. We wish him the best of luck," the statement noted.
Season 18 of DWTS will premiere on ABC on March 17.
(Edited by Vanilla Sharma)