August 14, 2011 5:11pm PT by THR staff
'Dancing With the Stars' Champ Derek Hough Says He's Returning to Show
Derek Hough will be back on Dancing With the Stars next season.
The dancing pro told People.com that he's returning to the ABC reality show after taking the past season off to shoot the indie movie Cobu 3D.
"I will be back," said Hough, who has won the show three times, including most recently with Jennifer Grey in the fall.
Hough added that the hiatus from DWTS allowed him to "push myself and introduce me to a career I'd love to do more. It was a fantastic experience."
Hough added that he also learned to appreciate the show from a new perspective.
"When we're doing the show we're in the bubble and we get into the stress and the drama and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff," Hough says. "It was good for me to take a season off and see what he audience sees. It gave me a new boost and inspiration to want to do some great things."
The cast of competing stars will be announced Aug. 29 during ABC's Bachelor Pad. Already, the Internet has been buzzing with casting rumors regarding the new fall crop, which include E! reality star Rob Kardashian and Jersey Shore’s Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. ABC has not commented on the speculation.
DWTS is set to premiere Sept. 19.