Strictly’s Bruno Tonioli ‘RULES OUT starring in 2021 series due to Covid pandemic as he opts to stay in the US and commit to £1 million Dancing With The Stars judging role’
Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli is reportedly set to miss the upcoming series due to the Covid pandemic.
The dancer, 65, who missed the last series due to his commitments on £1 million role on the judging panel for the US version Dancing With The Stars, has reportedly told pals he ‘can’t commit’ to the upcoming series.
Bruno appeared on last year’s Strictly via video link after being unable to return to the UK during the Covid crisis, and has previously travelled across the Atlantic to simultaneously film both shows.
Stuck: Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, 65, is reportedly set to miss out on the judging panel for the 2021 series
A source told The Sun: ‘Bruno can’t commit to both shows right now and is staying put in LA — it’s a better lifestyle there, with great weather, which is good for his health.
‘He earns close to £1 million a series in America, so he has to prioritise that.
‘Of course, he’s still very much part of the Strictly family and is keen to appear on a video link several times through the series.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Bruno Tonioli and Strictly Come Dancing for comment.
Empty chair: The Italian used to criss-cross between London and LA to film Strictly and its American counterpart Dancing with the Stars, but last year elected to stay in California
This will be the second series the judge has missed out on the dance competition.
Bruno was due to resume his panel duties on the semi-final last year but he and his bosses decided it would be safer for him to remain stateside.
The decision apparently meant facing a £125,000 pay cut from his reported £250,000 salary, and he instead appeared via satellite link.
Stateside: Sources said the dancer loves the Hollywood life and warm weather, as well as the nearly £1m he makes on the American series
A source at the time told The Sun: ‘He’s contributed less than he normally would with all of his Italian flamboyance and high- energy performances in the studio, so he was happy to take less than his usual wage.
‘After all, it was his decision to focus on the American show while keeping his toe in the UK. There’s no hard feelings.’
BBC bosses have reportedly warned Bruno he will not receive full pay again if he does not appear in person this year.
All’s well: BBC bosses are said to have no hard feelings about Bruno’s decision to remain across the pond, though have reportedly told him he will forego part of his reported £250,000 salary
But the insider said the plan was simply to move ahead with the remaining judges—Motsi, 39, Craig Revel Horwood, 56 and Shirley Ballas, 60.
It was also confirmed that Anton Du Beke will not be called up to replace Bruno on the judging panel for the remaining four weeks of the series, after he filled in for Motsi Mabuse.
Bruno was due to isolate for two weeks after returning from the US before making his comeback on the BBC1 series, yet the plan was thwarted.
Current judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi completed the series as a trio.
When it was reported in August that Bruno would make a comeback later in the series, insiders said BBC bosses were keen to get Bruno to the UK and hope that he could make a comeback for the final.
Open arms: The insider said the beloved judge would be welcomed back to the Strictly panel at any time, calling him ‘irreplaceable’