After 31 seasons, Len Goodman is ready to leave the ballroom for the last time. During the Nov. 14 episode of "Dancing With the Stars," Goodman announced that he'll be leaving the show at the end of this season. He explained during the broadcast, "This will be my last season judging 'Dancing With the Stars.'" The crowd gasped at the news. He continued, "I've been on the show since it started in 2005, and it has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show, but I've decided I want to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain."
The crowd gave Goodman a standing ovation as his fellow judges — Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough — teared up. "It's been such a wonderful experience for me, and I look forward so much to next week's finale. I'm sure it's going to be absolutely brilliant," the 78-year-old added. The judging panel got up to give him hugs as the crowd and dancers cheered. Host Tyra Banks called him a "living legend."
"DWTS" is about to wrap up its 31st season after 17 years on the air. The only seasons Goodman did not appear on as a judge were seasons 21 and 29. Goodman also served as a judge on the British series "Strictly Come Dancing," which "DWTS" is an adaptation of. He began appearing on that show in 2004 before exiting in 2016. Goodman has also worked as a judge in nontelevised ballroom dancing contests, and Banks noted that many of the dancers, including Hough, were judged by Goodman during ballroom competitions as they were growing up.
Before his TV career, Goodman was a dancer himself, starting when he was 19 years old. He still runs a ballroom dancing school in his home country of England.
After Goodman made his announcement, Inaba took to Instagram Stories to share photos of herself, Goodman, and Tonioli over the years; all three were on the original judging panel. "Len Goodman. Head Judge. Dear Friend. Family," she wrote in part.
The season 31 finale of "Dancing With the Stars" airs Monday, Nov. 21, on Disney+.