TMZ got tongues wagging with the news - via unnamed sources - that two-time DWTS pro champion-turned-movie star Julianne Hough may return to the ABC show for this fall's Season 19, but as a judge instead of a competing dancer. Julianne - sister of five-time pro champ Derek Hough - left the show after Season 8 to star in movies like "Footloose" and "Safe Haven," but she's guest-judged DWTS for the past two seasons. TMZ said an offer has been made for Julianne to be the fourth judge, in addition to existing judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
TV Guide picked up the story, and the official Twitter account for ABC Publicity shared a link to TV Guide's version, adding a bit of credence to the rumor.
Julianne is a popular pro, although a controversial DWTS judge. She called out her fellow pro - and childhood friend - Mark Ballas for overshadowing his partner in Season 17, and she accused Maksim Chmerkovskiy of "phoning in" his Switch Up performance in Season 18.
Not all fans want Julianne back as a judge, especially when reigning pro champion Maks has made it clear he's not returning to DWTS as a pro dancer but he would accept a judging role. Many viewers figured that if any past pro joined the judges' panel it would be Maks. And that could still be the case. The report doesn't say Julianne is definitely taking the fourth judge spot, but even if she does, head judge Len is expected to take a few weeks off this fall and someone is going to have to fill in for him. (He's 70 and he commutes weekly from London to L.A. to judge two shows, which is exhausting just to imagine.) So maybe Maks can fill in for Len?
It remains to be seen what ABC plans to do with the judges table. The DWTS pro lineup was just revealed last week but the cast won't be announced until September 4, then the season premieres Monday, September 15. Do you hope Julianne does return to DWTS as the fourth judge, or would that be a bad call? Do you wish Maks would join the judges' panel instead?
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