'DWTS' Without Derek and Cheryl: 'There Are Still Fan Faves We Can Bring Back,' Says Producer

Dancing with the Stars will be down two popular pros, but a producer says others will return for the spring season

Photo: ABC

The 10th anniversary of Dancing with the Stars will have two serious absentees, but the show can and must go on.

Executive Producer Rob Wade told PEOPLE that the departure of Cheryl Burke to NBC and Derek Hough’s show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall shouldn’t change the dynamic of show that will return to ABC for a 20th season in March.

“There is still a huge amount of fan favorites we can bring back,” said Wade, who’s reached out to Anna Trebunskaya, Kym Johnson, Tristan MacManus and Louis van Amstel, among others, about returning this season.

“Cheryl was dancing for nine years. It takes a real toll on the mind and the body,” Wade added. “I’m glad she had the guts to say, ‘This is a great gig, but I want to try something else.’ And it’s great that Derek has gone off and done this, but he’ll come back even stronger, even better.”

Wade also hints that maybe it’s too soon to prepare for Len Goodman’s departure after the spring season. In December, the senior judge told reporters that traveling back and forth to England has become too overwhelming.

“He says, ‘Let’s see how it goes,’ ” says Wade. “It depends on the health of his mother and how he feels personally about the travel. There’s a good chance he might miss a lot of all next season, but I don’t know though. I think there’s a chance he’ll decide to come back next spring when Dancing with the Stars in the U.K. is not going on.”

And while Leah Remini may have been a hoot as a guest host in the skybox last season, Erin Andrews will stay put as Tom Bergeron’s co-host this year.

“You can get away with having a guest host for one-offs, but there is a lot of business to this live hosting stuff that’s kind of unique. You need a person who has the ability to do that. It’s pretty challenging, that job, and it’s quite thankless. Leah did a great job, but you need a common denominator going though there.”

Dancing with the Stars will reveal the season 10 pros Feb. 11 on Good Morning America. The stars will be introduced later this month in time for the show’s March 16 return on ABC.

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