Maksim Chmerkovskiy reunites with Kirstie Alley on the upcoming all-star season of “Dancing with the Stars” that begins Monday, but don’t expect to see him on the ABC ballroom floor after next year. He’s leaving when his contract expires at the end of 2013, the New York Post reports.
“What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons? It makes total sense,” Chmerkovskiy told the newspaper. “The audience can’t expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can’t expect me to want to stick around.”
ABC and BBC Worldwide Productions, which created the show, had no comment.
The bearded bad boy of the ballroom reveals that many of his fellow pros are becoming frustrated working in the shadows of their celebrity partners.
“Essentially, 80 percent of our job is to give somebody another push in their career or we make them into likable characters. But at the end of the day, they go off and they better themselves,” he said. “I loved doing it, but to be honest with you, at 32, I am at ‘what-about-me time.’”
The pro dancer knows the show is bigger than any dancer.
“I am not thinking that with me leaving, the show will go off the air or anything. Like my dad said, ‘There are no irreplaceable people.’ I wish them the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me.”
Chmerkovskiy says he wants to pursue an acting career and a possible reality show with his brother and fellow dancer, Val.
Chmerkovskiy has appeared on the Ukrainian version of ‘The Bachelor’ and currently hosts a Ukrainian game show called “The Cube.” He also has landed the lead role of a Latin dancer in a romantic comedy that begins shooting in January.
“I never thought I was ready [for movie acting]. Then I had a whole day of reading with the director and casting director, and I enjoyed it so much,” Chmerkovskiy said. ” I caught the bug, as they say. This is something I really want to do.”
As for the upcoming DWTS season, Chmerkovskiy expects to have a tougher time winning votes than in his first time around with Kirstie Alley in season 12, when they finished second.
“We may have had a couple of weeks last time that we cruised on popularity or fan appeal or whatever, but I am not really sure that is going to work for us this time. I am not sure people are going to vote for us just because it is us,” Chmerkovskiy said.
The two-night premiere of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” begins Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.