Len Goodman sat out of Dancing With the Stars Season 29, but Derek Hough came to the rescue. Goodman, 76, was MIA at the DWTS judges' table due to travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Plus, the ballroom dancing legend is in an at-risk group because of his age.) Hough, 35, was the perfect replacement due to his expertise in the field and because he had previously competed on 17 seasons of the ABC competition.
While Hough's Season 29 stint was a success, it could turn into a more permanent arrangement, according to sources speaking with The Sun. The publication had sources close to DWTS' production who claim that everyone behind the scenes is thrilled at Hough's DWTS appearances, believing he "knocked it out of the park." Producers and judge Carrie Ann Inaba are said to be pushing for Hough to be a permanent part of the panel.
"[Hough] brought a fresh energy to the role and show, and is hugely popular with his screen stars, contestants and crew," the source said. "Derek not only stepped in, but was a hit from the start. His work makes it almost impossible to not have him back. ... Derek also brings entertainment too as he showed this season that he can do unique dancing routines."
As for Goodman's stance with those behind-the-scenes, there appears to be no ill-will. Producers are mainly concerned about his health as the pandemic rages on. Insurance and liability policies play into this aspect, as well. The source stated, "Len is a legend and has been a great servant to the show, but times are different and so are the considerations.
As for those willing to speak publicly, host and executive producer Tyra Banks doesn't see replacement as the strategy to follow. She wants Goodman, who only appeared in a handful of remote Season 29 segments, to come back for Season 30 alongside Hough.
“I think Derek is so fantastic,” Banks told HollywoodLife. “He has such compassion, and he dances his ass off. He gives the most amazing critiques, He’s firm, yet warm. He did a really fantastic job. I miss Len. I feel like there’s a way to have them both be here. I have a little notepad in my phone of how I can make that work. I’ve got to get that approved by the team, but it also depends on the health of not just the nation, but the globe, for that to happen.”