'Dancing With the Stars' Judge Bruno Tonioli Forced to Shake up Schedule Amid Tom Bergeron, Tyra Banks Swap

Bruno Tonioli has to choose where his talents are needed in the next season of Dancing With the Stars. The colorful and energetic judge pulls double duty on the American version of the reality competition and its BBC cousin Strictly Come Dancing.

Typically Tonioli will fly back and forth between the U.S. and the U.K. for the shows, but that won't be possible according to the BBC. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tonioli was forced to shake up his schedule and plans to involve himself remotely in the British original.

The BBC confirmed the remote appearances for Tonioli, noting he would appear in the Sunday results show before returning full-time near the end of the season. They also confirmed that the series would be shorter this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Strictly Come Dancing typically runs alongside Dancing With the Stars in the U.S., having some overlap but usually ended after the American competition wraps up.

"I absolutely adore being part of Strictly and can't wait to see what incredible dancing this year has in store," Tonioli said about the situation. "Lockdown has resulted in me being in LA for the foreseeable, but I'm excited to be involved as much as I possibly can."

Strictly executive producer Sarah James also shared that she was "overjoyed that we've found a way for Bruno to be part of this year's Strictly." She credited his passion and enthusiasm as a cornerstone of the series that she is happy they can deliver in some form.

Tonioli typically misses one week of the series each season for a break from the travel involved. With the current state of the world, the decision for him to go remote makes perfect sense. It also comes at a time when the U.S. version of the show needs a constant presence.


Longtime host Tom Bergeron was let go along with co-host Erin Andrews, replaced by supermodel Tyra Banks as the lead host. The production will also undergo unique changes to maintain coronavirus guidelines, including a lack of an audience, masks for performers and married pro couples will be forced to live apart during production to maintain COVID-19 safety.

Dancing With the Stars season 29 will premiere on Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, with a two-hour premiere, with many of the returning pros announced on Good Morning America. This includes the returning Sharna Burgess, who won season 27 with Bobby Bones and was left out of last season. Check out what else to expect here.