There a noticeable void in the "Dancing With The Stars" season 16 cast lineup
when it was revealed on Tuesday morning: Pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy has left the show, at least for now.
Though the Ukrainian Latin ballroom dancer has appeared on almost every season of "DWTS" since cycle two (he did not participate in season six), the 33-year-old Chmerkovskiy has decided to depart.
"I just want to set the record straight to all of my amazing fans that I will unfortunately not be returning for this season of 'Dancing With the Stars,'" Chmerkovskiy said in a statement after the cast was revealed on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "I've been a pro dancer on the show for about seven years now and am eager to explore other opportunities that have been made possible because of 'Dancing With the Stars.' I'm going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations."
On the show, pro contestants are paired with celebrities and are responsible for choreographing and teaching their partners the different routines each week. Often considered the bad boy of the ballroom, Chmerkovskiy isn’t the only pro opting out of dancing this season. Anna Trebunskaya, Chelsie Hightower, and Louis van Amstel will also not appear on season 16.
"We frequently rotate the professional dancers, so it is not unusual for them to rest a cycle," a "DWTS" rep told the Hollywood Reporter. "As we consider who will be matched up each season, there are a lot of factors that dictate which couples make the best pairings. We appreciate each of our dancers' dedication to the show, so this is a very difficult decision. Anna, Chelsie, Louis, and Maks continue to be a part of the 'Dancing With the Stars' family."
In the past, Chmerkovskiy has been paired with celebrities like boxer Laila Ali, actress Denise Richards, and Olympic volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, but he has never won a season. He came in second place twice — in season five with former Spice Girl Melanie Brown and in season 12 with actress Kirstie Alley.
Chmerkovskiy's brother Valentin made his "DWTS" pro debut in season 13 and will be dancing with Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman on the upcoming cycle, which is scheduled for a two-hour premiere on Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
So, what do the celebrities and pros get for all their "DWTS" efforst? The info is closely held, but because Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson was a minor, her season 8 agreement with "DWTS" had to be approved by an L.A. County judge and it showed that it pays to keep on dancing.
The Shawn Johnson public document was obtained by TMZ and revealed that the gymnist got an initial guarantee of $125,000, then $10,000 per week for weeks 3 and 4, $20,000 each for weeks 5-7, $30,000 each for weeks 8 and 9, and $50,000 each for weeks 10 and 11. In total, she earned the maximum possible $365,000 for making it to the final show with pro dancer Mark Ballas.
According to the fan site, dwts.org, the professionals earn a little more than $5,000 per episode, which stops if the celebrity-pro pairing doesn't advance.
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