Maksim Chmerkovskiy by Paul Redmond/
When the roster of celeb hoofers and pro partners is announced for Dancing with the Stars' sixth season, one fan fave will be missing: Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "He just needs a break," an ABC spokesperson tells People. "He is part of the Dancing family, and he will be back" - perhaps for the occasional results show, and quite possibly as part of a Season 7 team.

"The 25 million viewers are going to remember me whether I'm there or not," Maksim - who in the past two rounds led Mel B. and Laila Ali to the finals (yet never claimed the crown) - told back in December, when word first spread that he might take a break. In fact, the 28-year-old let slip his intention to skip Season 6 in that same interview, only to "backtrack" a day later upon seen his declaration in print. "I was like, 'Ah, what have I said?' It was very tear-jerky for me," he said then. "When I had a free moment, I read all the e-mails and looked at my fan site and people were just devastated, to say the least. I didn't mean to do that."

Dancing with the Stars will reveal its celebrity contenders on Monday's Dance Wars finale, then detail the pro pairings on Tuesday's Good Morning America. The stars will meet their partners for the first time on Thursday's Oprah Winfrey Show. Season 6 premieres March 17.

POLL: Will Maksim's absence make you any less inclined to watch Season 6? Vote here.

" Why Dancing's Maks Won't Be Back
" Is Maksim Chmerkovskiy Done Dancing?

For lots more entertainment news, read Today's News: Our Take.