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Maksim Chmerkovskiy returns to 'Dancing With the Stars' for season 18

Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy attends the 20th Annual Race

Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy attends the 20th Annual Race To Erase MS Galaat the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 3, 2013, in Century City, Calif. Credit: Getty Images / Jason Merritt

Dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, a "Dancing with the Stars" mainstay who left the show after its 15th season, reportedly is returning for the 18th season, premiering March 17.

Us Weekly said Thursday that the Ukrainian-born dancer, 34, was photographed on Wednesday leaving a meeting with "DWTS" executives, and would rejoin the ABC dance competition he had left in 2012 after his contract expired.

While the magazine said his exit from the show may have been on less-than-amicable terms, he returned to dance in a guest appearance in season 16 and was a semifinals guest judge the following season.

Chmerkovskiy's representative did not return requests for comment. ABC will announce this season's contestants Tuesday on "Good Morning America."

Chmerkovskiy began on the show with season two, and sat out season six. In his time away from "DWTS," he appeared in three episodes of the soap opera "General Hospital" and from July to August last year danced in the Broadway musical "Forever Tango."

Also Thursday, E! reported longtime "DWTS" judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she "was shocked and saddened" that her friend Brooke Burke-Charvet was fired as co-host. "I was floored," Inaba said at a pre-Oscar party Wednesday. "I immediately texted her to see if she was OK . . . We all know this kind of stuff happens in our business and we all have to be prepared and nothing's forever and you have to be willing to change, but it was shocking."

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