Great Britain

DWTS judge Len Goodman ‘may not return’ after Derek Hough ‘knocked it out of the park’ as his replacement amid pandemic

VETERAN judge Len Goodman may be facing a fight for his future as head judge on Dancing With The Stars, a source revealed exclusively the The Sun.

British star Goodman, who is not on screen on this season of the hit dancing show due to COVID, may never return after Derek Hough "knocked it out of the park" as his replacement, an insider said.

Sources on the show told The Sun that Hough "brought a fresh energy to the role and show, and is hugely popular with his screen stars, contestants and crew."

Show executives saw the former six time Glitterball trophy winner as a short term fill-in over Goodman's absence due to COVID-19 - but now producers and even judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who made headlines this season over her with her ex Artem and his dancing partner Kaitlyn Bristowe, want Hough on the panel permanently.

A full time switch in 2021 would have to be signed off by ABC and BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm.

Insiders added that Goodman's health and welfare in the midst of a pandemic remain the bosses' utmost concern.

However even with a vaccine, insurance and liability matters would be considered by show bosses when the show returns next year.

Executives and lawyers consulted on how to include Goodman, who had surgery over the summer to remove a skin cancer growth from his forehead, given the insurance and health concerns of flying internationally, quarantining and residing and working in COVID hit LA.

A source said: "Len is a legend and has been a great servant to the show, but times are different and so are the considerations.

"Derek not only stepped in, but was a hit from the start. His work makes it almost impossible to not have him back."

The source added: "Derek also brings entertainment too as he showed this season that he can do unique dancing routines.

"Fans cannot wait for Monday's finale show when he will do a special tribute to legends in his life."

Len's departure would be another headline making shakeup in 2020 after DWTS axed Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews as hosts and replaced the duo with Tyra Banks.

On Monday night Inaba singled out Hough for making the show a success: "I actually liked having no audience in a weird way. Because it became more intimate between the judges and the competitors.

"It really felt like we did it all together. It was a unified feeling. Because with the circumstances going on in the world, we all were united and deeply committed to bringing a great season to everybody and I feel like that was powerful the way it was so intimate.

"And I gotta say that there is a guy sitting in the middle that I think should be a part of this from here on out. I love Mr. Derek."

Bruno Tonioli, Goodman's long term friend, too praised the dynamics of the Hough panel.

"It was like a united front, the whole thing. There was a real sense of connection and working together to make the best possible show," he said.

ABC are still considering whether the show should return in the spring, especially with the rising COVID cases in LA however an autumn show is "definitely happening" the source said.

The Sun reached out to representatives for Len and Dancing With The Stars for comment.

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