While it has been speculated about all week, the news has now been confirmed. Dancer turned actress Julianne Hough is returning to ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, but instead of coming back to dance on the reality series as a pro dancer, Hough will be taking on a new position when she shows up this season: judge.
Hough announced the news on Good Morning America, telling viewers that she will be the show’s new fourth judge. The three original judges of Dancing With the Stars, Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Burno Tonioli, will all be staying on as well.
While on Dancing With the Stars, Hough was incredibly successful. During her five seasons on the show as a professional, she won the coveted mirror ball trophy twice, coming in her first place during her first two seasons with celebrity partners Apolo Anton Ohno and Hélio Castroneves.
In November 2008, Hough announced that she would not be returning to the ABC series in order to focus on music. Over the past few years, though, Hough’s greatest success has come through her film career. The dancer/actress starred in the 2011 reboot of Footloose, before going on to act in the musical film Rock of Ages and the Nicholas Sparks’ romantic drama Safe Haven. Since leaving in 2008, Hough has also returned to Dancing With the Stars a few times, even becoming the first former pro to guest judge back in October 2013.
Hough’s addition as a fourth judge is another change made by the celebrity-dancing series, which has made several “tweaks” over recent years, including merging the results show into the same telecast as the weekly performance, switching bands, and bringing in new co-host Erin Andrews for Brooke Burke-Chavret, who was let go last season. All these modifications to the original format of Dancing With the Stars have been made in hopes that the long-running series will regain some of the viewers that it has been shedding over the past few years.
Dancing With the Stars returns to ABC on Sept. 15 with a new group of still-to-be announced celebrities.
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