The legendary 'Dancing with the Stars' head judge died of bone cancer in April 2023
While speaking to PEOPLE after the season 32 casting announcement last week, the 51-year-old host revealed how he, new co-host Julianne Hough, and the professional dancers plan to honor the ballroom judge’s legacy in the first season since Goodman died of bone cancer at age 78.
“I can guarantee you that every one of those pros will be making sure that the routines are still designed for Len,” Riberio explained. "I know I've talked to a few of them and they will be putting in specific steps that Len used to love, just to make sure that the content is still there for Len.”
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum also assured fans that the show is "looking at doing something” to honor Goodman further and “there won't be a dry eye in the house” when that moment comes.
“It'll be amazing. I mean, he was the best,” he added.
Goodman’s manager, Jackie Gills, confirmed the professional dancer and judge's death on April 22.
"It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78," Gills said in the statement shared with BBC News. "A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him."
Goodman died at a hospice in Kent, England, surrounded by his family. The former professional dancer appeared on DWTS from 2005 until 2022. He was also a head judge on the British version of the show Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 until 2016.
"Len Goodman had that type of authority in the dance world and he earned that authority," Val told Entertainment Tonight. "Not just on camera but behind the scenes for 50 years of being in competitive ballroom dancing, so we know Len from those days."
"And then to have been introduced to Len on camera in front of millions of people, he felt like family," he continued. "He felt like a granddad to us, our dance granddad and yeah, we'll miss him. I think the show will be very different without him."
Mak also reflected on how Goodman impacted the dance competition show.
"Just looking back at whatever I look at that was significant for me, he was there in some way or form. I felt close to him as a person, but I felt close to the idea of Len Goodman.... I think Len was the anchor that held all three of them down through some periods of time," he said referring to Goodman and his fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
He continued, "But the character of Len Goodman is what made the show a big part of what made the show stick around, stay and he developed that character for other countries. They all try to find a Len Goodman and it's hard because they can't, really."
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Season 32 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 26 on ABC and will stream on Disney+ and Hulu.
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