Bruno Tonioli has been a fixture on both Dancing With the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing for years, but reports have recently surfaced regarding whether or not Tonioli will continue on Strictly Come Dancing in the upcoming seasons.
Tonioli has been a judge on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing since the series premiered. Now, The Daily Mail reports that it’s possible Tonioli will not be returning for the upcoming season of the show due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The DWTS judge is currently living in Los Angeles, though he is usually able to travel back and forth and be on both shows. The pandemic has changed that, however, and Tonioli set a precedent by choosing DWTS over Strictly in the 2020 season.
Tonioli May Miss 2021’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Season
The Daily Mail reported on January 2 that Tonioli had been paid £125,000, which is around $170,000, for just five minutes of screentime on the 2020 season of Strictly. Now, sources tell the outlet that it’s possible that executives may not sign Tonioli on for 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions and the possibility of having to pay the same type of fees once again.
“This time last year, Bruno had been signed up but things are so much less certain now,” a source told the outlet. “It is very unlikely the BBC will allow themselves to be in the same position they were this year and end up spending so much money for such little value.”
They continued, “Bruno chose Dancing With the Stars over Strictly, that’s no secret. If he does the same again this year, things will be tricky. There is the perfect replacement waiting in the wings – Anton.”
It’s worth noting that DWTS has not yet been officially renewed for Season 30 and does not have a release date for a new season of the show.
Tonioli May Be Replaced With Anton Du Beke
According to the insider, the show already has a replacement in mind if Tonioli does not sign on for a new season. Anton Du Beke has been a professional dancer on Strictly for 16 years, and the source said the dancer would love to take a seat on the judge’s table.
That would be close to what DWTS did for season 29; six-time champion and professional dancer Derek Hough took the seat at the table, replacing Len Goodman due to coronavirus safety concerns.
Du Beke officially joined the judging panel in 2020 for two weeks. He stepped in for Motsi Mabuse while she spent time in Germany. He is the longest-tenured professional dancer on the show, having been a fixture since season one.
The dancer has also been open about his desire to shift into a judging role on the show.
The Sun reported in 2020 that Tonioli was “worried” for his future on Strictly after seeing Du Beke’s success on the panel.
As for new seasons, it’s not clear what the judging panel will look like on either Dancing With the Stars or Strictly Come Dancing.