Don’t look for Cheryl Burke when “Dancing with the Stars” returns to ABC on Monday, March 20 for season 24. The professional dancer has decided to leave the hit reality competition show again. She first exited after season 19 but came back last season. She was partnered with former Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. After being the subject of many protests, including one in the studio, they were eliminated in seventh place.
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Her first departure came after 18 seasons on the show, including victories for her debut in season two (Drew Lachey) as well as season three (Emmitt Smith). While she never won again, she got tantalizing close in seasons eight (Gilles Marini) and 13 (Rob Kardashian) by taking second place.
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When she reached 30, a milestone for anyone but particularly a professional dancer who puts their body under daily stress and strain, she decided to leave “DWTS” to explore other opportunities. There had been talk back then of her appearing on a variety show at NBC but that did not come to fruition after the peacock net had its feathers ruffled by several failed attempts to revive that format. Burke will be busy, with summer plans to tour the country as the star of “Love on the Floor,” a live dance extravaganza.
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She is just the latest in a list of familiar faces who won’t be back competing for the Mirrorball trophy. Other professional dancers who are exiting include: Mark Ballas, Tony Dovolani, Derek Hough, Jenna Johnson and Karina Smirnoff. However, it has been confirmed that two fan favorites — Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd — are due to return.