“Dancing with the Stars” judge Len Goodman announced his retirement during Monday night’s show.
The 78-year-old is stepping away from his position as head judge of the dancing competition show after joining in 2005 for season one. Goodman shared that he plans on spending more time with his grandchildren in the U.K. during his retirement.
“Doing a live show you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging,” Goodman told People magazine.
He continued: “I will miss the California sunshine, working with my fellow judges and the camaraderie with everyone on the show. I’ll miss seeing the celebrities developing into dancers and I will miss being part of one of the most successful shows on TV.”
“I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”
During the show’s first season, Goodman was joined by Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. Both judges still serve on the panel after 31 seasons.
Goodman – who was originally a British ballroom dancer – began his career on “Strictly Come Dancing,” a British version of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Goodman went on to say that “the majority of Americans were convinced that nobody would be interested in watching ballroom dancing and that it would be a flop.”
“How wrong they were!” he stated.
“DWTS” was on ABC for 30 seasons before the show switched to Disney+ for its 31st season. Goodman sat out of judging season 21, but returned for seasons 22-28.
He took another break during season 29, but returned for season 30 before announcing his retirement in the 31st season.
Goodman shared some of his most memorable moments judging the show over the years to the outlet. “When I got to dance the Viennese Waltz — albeit briefly — with Derek Hough’s celebrity partner, Nastia Liukin,” Goodman said. “Dancing to a song sung live in the studio by Leela James [‘Fall For You’] brought back such happy memories of my dancing past.”
He continued: “Meeting some of the great artists that have been singing on the show such Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, to name a few… and meeting some of my sporting heroes, who either competed on the show or were watching in the audience, from the world of baseball, football, boxing, skiing, race car driving, and ice skating.”
“I had so much fun recording ‘Dance Center’ for a few years with Kenny Mayne and Jerry Rice. It always took twice as long as it should have done to record because we kept laughing so much!” Goodman added.
Ultimately, Goodman is looking forward to spending time with his family during his retirement.
“Retirement looks like more time to be with family and friends and enjoy the grandchildren whilst they are still young and don’t answer me back!” Goodman shared.
He noted to the outlet that he is grateful for all the experiences during his career on “Dancing with the Stars.”
“Over the 31 seasons, there has been some fantastic dancing, and part of my retirement will be to dig out the DVDs that I have been fortunate to receive over the years and relive the memories of the past outstanding performances — the good, the bad and the ugly,” he said.
Goodman added, “I’m sure there are plenty of people who are happy that I am leaving but hopefully there will be some that are sad too.
“I have had a wonderful run of good fortune and cannot thank everyone enough who assisted me along the way,” he continued. “A big shout out to hair, make-up, wardrobe, and the whole crew who all played their part in making ‘Dancing With Stars’ a huge success — it truly has been a wonderful experience to be part of. Hasta la vista baby!”