"Dancing With the Stars" fans might see a familiar face when the show returns for Season 17 on Sept. 16 on ABC, with the return of the fiery professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Paul Lee, ABC's president of entertainment, sparked the rumor Sunday during the network's Television Critics Association summer press tour.
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"Maks is part of the family," Lee told Today.com at the press tour.
"He may well be back. We love having him be part of the show."
Chmerkovskiy, known for his sexy dancing and for butting heads with the judges, is currently on Broadway as part of Luis Bravo’s "Forever Tango" production at New York City's Walter Kerr Theatre through Aug. 11. He is dancing there with former fiancee and "Dancing With the Stars" alum Karina Smirnoff.
Born in the Ukraine in 1980, Chmerkovskiy began dancing at age 4 and now owns three dance studios in the New York City area, according to US Weekly.
He made his first appearance during the show's second season.
The classically trained ballroom dancer and Spice Girl Melanie "Mel B" Brown finished in second place during Season 5 of "Dancing With the Stars," behind race car driver Helio Castroneves and dancer Julianne Hough in 2007.
The finale of the latest "Dancing with the Stars" in May saw an increase in viewers by 4.2 million, the second highest total of the season. “Dancing with the Stars” maintained a strong lead over NBC's "The Voice," and even saw a 50 percent jump in the 18-49 age category.
"Dancing With the Stars" experienced a rating slump in the middle of the last campaign, and Chmerkovskiy could help boost their numbers, the New York Daily News reported in April
. "Dancing With the Stars" opened with 13 million viewers, some 4 million off from where it was the year before.
"It’s a mess," a production source told the New York Daily News of the show back in April. "Just a mess."
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