Maksim Chmerkovskiy Explains Dancing Departure: 'I'm Still Part Of The Show, Under Contract'

The cast and professional partners for “Dancing with the Stars” Season 16 were announced Tuesday morning, and while ballroom bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy was nowhere to be found, the pro hinted that he could return in the future.

Maksim stopped by Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday, where he told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover that a return to “DWTS” could happen down the road.

“I’m still part of the show. I’m still under contract,” he said. “I’m not on this season. A lot of things were considered and they were gracious to let me pursue other things. There are a lot of projects that I’m interested in.”

Does this mean Maks could return for Season 17?

“When time comes for the next season, we’ll talk about it then,” he explained. “I’m pursing some things that I’ve always been interested in.”

“Movies? TV?” Kit asked.

“Absolutely,” he said. “As far as the rumors out there, I haven’t been unemployed since I was 14 years old, so it’s still not the case… ABC is still a big, big, big part of my life.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Maks spoke out about not returning for the ABC reality hit’s sixteenth season.

“I just want to set the record straight to all of my amazing fans that I will unfortunately not be returning for this season of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ I’ve been a pro dancer on the show for about seven years now and am eager to explore other opportunities that have been made possible because of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Maksim said in a statement to Access Hollywood.

Despite his absence from the ballroom, Maks said he will still be in the spotlight.

“I’m going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations,” the 33-year-old continued.

Adding, “A big thank you to all of my fans for your never-ending support. I also want to thank the entire cast and production of ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, a source revealed to Access that Maks was not asked to return to “DWTS.” The pro has been on the show since Season 2 and was most recently paired with Kirstie Alley (for a second time) on the show’s “All-Stars” edition.

See which stars and pros will be strutting their moves in the ballroom for Season 16!

-- Jesse Spero

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