Head judge Len Goodman to leave 'DWTS' after 17 years: 'It has been a huge pleasure'

Elise Brisco

Len Goodman will be taking a final bow after this season of "Dancing with the Stars." 

Goodman, who has been head judge of the show since its 2005 premiere, announced during Monday's Disney+ episode "with a touch of sadness"  that the current season will be his last on the judge's panel. 

"It has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show," he said. "But I've decided I'd like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain. I could not thank you enough, my 'Dancing With The Stars' family, it's been such a wonderful experience for me." 

The 78-year-old ballroom dancer's announcement was greeted by a standing ovation from the audience and from fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli.

Len Goodman announced he will be leaving "Dancing With The Stars" after the current season.

Dancing pro Cheryl Burke, who recently announced Season 31 would be "likely" be her last season on the dance competition show "as a dancer," sent a heartfelt farewell to Goodman who she gave credit for "changing her life" on the show's official Instagram page. 

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"Thank you for representing us ballroom dancers and for personally inspiring me to always stick to authentic ballroom dancing," Burke wrote on Instagram. "You have been a huge part of the reason why ballroom dancing has continued to entertain millions of people at home who gather around their tv screens every week." 

"DWTS" professional dancer Pasha Pashkov wrote: "I remember being judged by Len in Blackpool, England when I was a youth dancer and DWTS has not even existed yet! You’re a LEGEND." 

The judges panel praised Len Goodman for his time on the how following his announcement.

Goodman was a judge on the BBC One show "Strictly Come Dancing," which came a year before the U.S. version of the competition show, and he has seen "more than 3,000 routines on "DWTS," according to host Tyra Banks. He appeared as head judge during every season of the show except for Season 21 in 2015 and Season 29 in 2020. 

Contributing: Bill Keveney