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'DWTS' producers dish on Maks Chmerkovskiy, the judges, and season 19

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"Dancing with the Stars" season 19 premieres Sept. 15 on ABC with an all-new cast of celebrity mirror ball trophy hopefuls. With two months to go before the big debut, Glamour's Jessica Radloff spoke exclusively with show executive producers Ashley Edens-Shaffer, Rob Wade, and Joe Sungkur on July 15. The trio dished on whether or not all three long-time judges will return, popular pro and reigning "DWTS" champion Maks Chmerkovskiy's future plans, and who they might like to see strutting their stuff in the esteemed ballroom.

Despite oft-cranky head judge Len Goodman's late-season 18 claim that he may not return to the panel, the trio seemed confident that he will continue on as a "DWTS" fixture. Wade admitted that they're still "talking" to Goodman as well as judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, but said he was "very confident they'll be back" for season 19.

When asked about the likely show status of Chmerkovskiy, who won his first mirror ball trophy with Olympic ice dancing champion Meryl Davis at the close of season 18, the trio remained evasive. Although Edens-Shaffer claimed he "loves the show," none of them directly answered the question as to whether or not Chmerkovskiy wants to return.

According to a July 17 report by Life & Style, Chmerkovskiy is interested in coming back, but in the role of judge rather than competitor. The article cited an unnamed "DWTS" insider as saying that the tall Ukrainian dancer "really, really wants to be a judge" and is interested in potentially sharing a spot at the panelists' table with Goodman. The latter routinely travels between the U.S. and the U.K. to complete his judging duties on both "DWTS" and its British counterpart, "Strictly Come Dancing."

As far as the potential contestant pool goes, Edens-Shaffer refused to disclose a firm cast announcement date, and all three said they were open to lineup suggestions from show fans. One potential contestant who definitely won't be donning dancing shoes is former "Boy Meets World" star Rider Strong, who responded to a July 17 fan tweet that floated his name to producers with a definitive "Never in a million years."

"Dancing with the Stars" season 19 begins Sept. 15 on ABC. The first results show of the season will follow on Sept. 16.


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