‘DWTS’: New EP Rob Wade Wants Simon Cowell As Guest Judge

He also addresses the futures of Bruno, Len and Carrie Ann in exclusive interview

Simon-Cowell - DWTS

Simon Cowell could be heading to the ballroom.

Rob Wade — the new executive producer of DANCING WITH THE STARS — says he hopes to land the outspoken music executive as a guest judge when the show returns for its 19th season this fall.

“He is a phenomenal talent,” Wade tells me.  “I would love him to come and guest judge on our show.  I have got to find out when he is in LA.”

Wade has a long history with both Cowell and the long running ABC series.

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He worked as a producer on the first 14 seasons of DANCING before leaving to run the U.S. version of Cowell’s X FACTOR.

When the music competition was canceled after three seasons, Wade went to work on another Cowell show, AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — but his former boss was left without a home on American TV.

Wade believes the sharp-tongued Brit may eventually resurface as a full time judge on AGT.

“I could see it happening,” he says.  “I don’t work on the show anymore, but when Howard Stern leaves I would put a punt on Simon coming back.”

Wade took over DANCING in April when longtime showrunner Conrad Green left to oversee the new Fox “social experiment” UTOPIA.

He told me what he plans to change and keep the same when we caught up last week in Beverly Hills.

Usually when they bring a new boss into a show it is so they can shake it up…
Yeah, but this time it is not.  The show did really great last season.  Quite early on in the season, Conrad who was the EP decided to leave.  He had done 18 seasons.  He decided he wanted a new challenge.  So in this case the show is doing great and we have to be really respectful of the format.

So how are you going to put your stamp on the show?
Look, viewers love the show.  I would be a fool to go in there and say, “I want to put my stamp on this.  I am going to go in there and shake things up.”  But there are a couple of significant changes that I am in the process of making that I think people will notice.

How many judges do you think will be on the panel?
For the moment, we are looking at three.  There is a possibility for a fourth.  We are talking about that possibility.  But we have to see.  I think you have just got to get the right mix of people.  I think Bruno (Tonioli) , Len (Goodman) and Carrie Ann (Inaba) are brilliant.  Certainly wouldn’t lose any of them…

Isn’t Len toward the end of his tenure?
I hope not.  I think we are in a very good position.  There should be an announcement very soon.

What about the dancers?
We are always looking for new dancers. We are always looking for fresh cast member.  We have a core of people that we love.  It is not that we are not happy with the dancers .  Again we have a couple of ideas for that are that we are looking at.

Tom Bergeron tells me his is there for the long haul…
Thank God.  Tom brings heart and exactly the right tone to the show.  He is warm and friendly and irreverent and serious and fun and compassionate.  He is not snarky or mean.  He is the show embodied in a human being.

At this point in the show, what is the process of finding new celebrities?  Are they coming to you now?
We go out and spread the net really wide and hopefully get one or two good bookings and then build [the rest of the cast] around that.

Have you thought about trying to find a YouTube star, either as a judge or a contestant?
Yeah.  We look at all avenues.  YouTube stars…  You are looking for characters and personality. The way I see it, I want to have something for the whole family.

DANCING WITH THE STARS returns September 15 at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly