"No, this is not Len's last season."
Wait, what?! Didn't head judge Len Goodman announce he was leaving Dancing With the Stars after its upcoming 20th season?
"Dancing with the Stars—next year is their 10th year, it's the 20th series of the show. So I think that's a nice place to stop," Goodman, who has been with the show since it began in 2004, said.
But now, executive producer Rob Wade tells E! News Goodman is not exiting the ABC reality hit series after all!
"Len finished last season, did an interview afterwards and I think genuinely he's found it tough. That's why we only had him on for half the season last season. The travel, he's getting on a bit, and his mother, who's 97, is quite sick and needs help. He felt bad about being away," Wade explains. "He was tired and he felt bad about being away, he was exhausted...I had a lot of conversations before the last season about it...When he had the interview, he was like, 'Season 20 is a good place to end,' because I think what Len felt was, since he's such a good guy, he felt like if he went away for a season, we wouldn't [want] him back."
And while Wade is confident Goodman will return beyond the upcoming season, he wouldn't say in what capacity viewers would be seeing him in.
"The truth is there is still a chance that Len will be around for 21, either as a part of, a small part, a big part or a whole part of the season," he spills. "I don't know how we'd use him, but he's very open to it. I spoke to Len two days ago. And then for Season 22, the spring, he's very up for coming back. And if we can come to an agreement, he absolutely wants to come back. "
While fan-favorite professional dancer Derek Hough is sitting Season 20 out, Wade confirms his sister and new judge Julianne Hough "is coming back," telling us the show is incredibly happy with her debut season at the judges' table. "This was her first season as a judge andI don't think anyone has any idea how difficult it is to be a judge," he says. "I thought she got better and better. She's incredibly knowledgeable."
Also returning? Co-host Erin Andrews.
"Yes, Erin's back too. We're very happy with the show," Wade says. "This is a great family. We're behind our cast 100 percent."
DWTS returns March 16 on ABC.