Maks is back! In the latest shakeup related to ABC's Dancing With the Stars, show sources tell Us Weekly that Maksim Chmerkovskiy will be returning to season 18 of the hit reality competition show after a 2-season break.
Chmerkovskiy, 34, will return once again as a dancing pro, making this his 15th season in the role. The veteran dancer left the reality show back in 2012 after his contract had expired on what was believed to have been tense terms. "Essentially, 80 percent of our job is to give somebody another push in their career," he told the New York Post of his departure. "I loved doing it. But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time."
During his hiatus from DWTS, the Ukrainian-born performer pursued a career in acting, appearing on ABC soap General Hospital for a brief three-episode stint, while filming two movies.
While the exact details of his contract remain unknown, Chmerkovskiy was photographed Wednesday, Feb. 26, leaving a meeting with DWTS executives, where an insider tells Us the deal was arranged. His return to the show comes after much upheaval. In early February, producers fired its longtime music director Harold Wheeler and his orchestra.
And on Saturday, Feb. 22, Brooke Burke-Charvet was fired from Dancing With the Stars after eight seasons as cohost. "Change is positive," Burke-Charvet wrote shortly after DWTS' executive producer Conrad Green confirmed her departure. "I loved my time in the ballroom & I'll love my next chapter too."
Most interesting to watch in the upcoming season, however, will be Chmerkovskiy's dynamics with newly-confirmed cohost Erin Andrews. The Fox Sports sideline reporter placed third in season 11 of DWTS with Chmerkovskiy as her partner. "I am so curious to hear how he feels about Erin Andrews hosting," one source tells Us.
Chmerkovskiy's rep did not respond to calls for comment.
The celebrity contestants will be announced on Tuesday, Mar. 4, on Good Morning America.