Will Maks Be Back for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 17?

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Does absence make the heart grow fonder? If you're a "Dancing With the Stars" fan it might! One season after Maksim Chmerkovskiy famously hung up his dancing shoes on the ABC dancing competition, word on the street is that he may be returning for Season 17 of the show.

Actually, the source is pretty reliable and it's not coming from a street thug. According to Access Hollywood, at the Television Critics Association summer tour on Sunday, ABC President of Entertainment Paul Lee was asked about the status of the Ukrainian pro dancer, who famously left the show last year after 10 seasons and zero mirrorball trophies.

"Maks is part of the family. He may well be back," Lee said. "We love having him a part of it."

Hey, that's better than a "no!"

Last fall, Maks told the New York Post, "What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons? The audience can't expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can't expect for me to want to stick around … I wish them the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me."

Not that "DWTS" fans have had to miss Maks all that much. After finishing out the All-Stars season last fall, he returned to the show for a cameo in Len Goodman's side-by-side challenge in April, trading moves with his real-life ex, Karina Smirnoff, for a jive challenge and dancing with her during a sizzling opening number. The network even touted his return with a splashy "Maks is Back" ad campaign. (The "reunion" with Smirnoff has proved to be a hit. The two are currently dancing together on Broadway in "Forever Tango" and fans are loving their newfound chemistry.)

But he also danced alongside his brother, Val, during his "DWTS" return last season (yes, they made the most of Maks that episode!), with Val Chmerkovskiy telling E! Online his bro enjoyed coming back for just one episode.

"I just found it funny that they found a way to get him back," Val said at the time. "If he were to ever come back, it would be in this fashion. He's really excited to dance again, especially to dance side by side with us."

So will it be one and done when it comes to Maks? We'll have to wait and see, as no official casting for the upcoming season has been announced yet. But since he's contracted with the show through 2015, you can be sure you haven't seen the last of Maks Chmerkovskiy in the "Dancing With the Stars" ballroom.

Season 17 of "Dancing With the Stars" premieres Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

More from this contributor:

What is Parkour and Why Are the 'Dancing With the Stars' Pros Doing It?

'DWTS' Season 16: Buzziest Moments That Weren't the Same Old Song and Dance

'DWTS' Pros Maks Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff Back Together on Broadway

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