Fall means the start of a new TV season and for the first time ever, the start of a new season of So You Think You Can Dance. Just five weeks after wrapping up Season 5, Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy & Co. are back Wednesday (8/7c, Fox) in search of Jeanine Mason's successor. "I think it's good for our fans that absolutely go through withdrawal and write me by the thousands: "Oh, I can't believe it's over! I can't wait 'til next summer,'" Murphy tells TVGuide.com. "So it's for those fans we're back and hopefully we'll pick up some new fans." And perhaps a new judge too in Paula Abdul? Get the latest from Murphy and see which familiar face will return.
TVGuide.com: It feels like you guys never left our screens.
Mary Murphy: I know! It's so funny because we were doing the auditions while the regular season was going on. It just doesn't even feel like that process even happened since it went by so fast. It was actually very helpful to be in the middle of the season and be very clear about what's happening and what you would like to see next.
TVGuide.com: It could get confusing with two dance shows in the fall now — you and Dancing with the Stars, which features some Dance alums.
Murphy: Yeah, and I'm sure there'll be more [dancing shows] too! The more dancing on TV, the better, as far as I'm concerned. I'm so proud of Dmitry [Chaplin], Lacey [Schwimmer] and Chelsie [Hightower], and hopefully more will go on to Dancing with the Stars. The life of a ballroom dancer is to go back into competition and make next to nothing, but you love what you do so you keep doing it and compete toward that U.S. championship. Now there is another outlet for them — and also on Broadway now with Burn the Floor — so it's pretty exciting for us in the ballroom world.
Check out photos from Dance
TVGuide.com: Have you heard about [guest choreographer] Alex Da Silva being accused of rape?
Murphy: I have not heard anything. I'm up in Canada filming. I've been filming three different auditions, so I have absolutely no idea what's going on. If it's true, it's very unfortunate.
TVGuide.com: Last season, Nathan Trasoras got an invite to come back this season since he was too young, so we'll definitely be seeing him?
Murphy: I can only say that he auditioned. I can't say what has happened to him. He was somebody that was of extreme interest to us and he was underage. That was the same deal with Brandon, who showed up three years too early and we said, "Come back in three years." But even at 15, we thought, "Holy smokes! He can dance!" There are so many young and talented dancers in this country that they can't wait to try out for the show that they're coming before they're 18.
TVGuide.com: Is there a city that just completely surprised you?
Murphy: We had an amazing time in Miami and Utah. I think we were surprised in Arizona as well, but I wouldn't say one city. They're just extraordinary in different ones. That's the beauty of going to so many different places. But L.A. is very strong and that's where we're kicking off the season as well.
TVGuide.com: Some of the criticism, not just for you guys, but shows like American Idol too, is that we don't really get to know everyone who makes it through to the semis and finals, so are we going to see more pieces on those dancers?
Murphy: Yeah, but you always have to wait too. I mean, we don't know the dancers that well. We know their dancing right now, but to see how someone is processing other styles is where it's going to get unique. Of course, we saw them do a few styles in Las Vegas that gives us a glimpse of who we think may be on the show. One thing that we do have for sure this season is a better cross-section of dancers. We were very lacking in hip-hop and had no B-boy whatsoever last season. I think it will make it more interesting.
See what is up against Dance this season
TVGuide.com: There weren't too many changes to the show last season. Are we going to see any this time around?
Murphy: I don't believe there are any changes whatsoever on the performance night, but I hear there might be a new surprise in the results show, which they haven't informed us of yet. There's just a lot of talk about it right now. I can't tell you what it is! I'll get killed, you know that! [Laughs] I have no idea what the new styles will be, but we're always willing to try, which I love because a lot of them I haven't seen before. [There'll be] new celebrity judges, new choreographers. That always spices it up. I never know who's the guest judge until the day I show up.
TVGuide.com: Well, this leads us to Paula Abdul possibly coming on in some capacity — guest judge, choreographer...
Murphy: I think it would be great. Paula was extremely nice to me when I first arrived in Hollywood and hugged me at the end of the finale during Season 1. Of course, she started as a dancer and she adores the show and she adores dancing. She would be a great mix. I think it'll be fun — me and Paula sitting together. You'll have to put Nigel in between us or something! I'd certainly have fun with her.
TVGuide.com: Is there any update on her?
Murphy: No, there's no update that I've heard of yet. I still don't think it's completely over with American Idol. We're all kind of holding our breath until they start their live shows and we see if it's really dead in the water. I just still wouldn't believe it. I have no idea if there's anything going on [between Abdul and Fox]. I'm just one of those people and one of those fans out there who won't believe it. I think she softens down Simon [Cowell] when he gets really crusty. [Laughs] She's one of the few people who can give him a whack on the shoulder or a kiss on the cheek and a hug and everything else and turn her back to him. I honestly would be the same kind of way with the words he uses!
News: Nigel Lythgoe says he'll "certainly" invite Abdul to Dance finale
TVGuide.com: Speaking of judges, Adam Shankman has been lobbying to be a permanent judge. What's going on with that?
Murphy: [Laughs] I have no idea! That seems like Adam! I do enjoy judging with him.