Late “Dancing With the Stars” judge Len Goodman honored with trophy naming in season 32 premiere

Len Goodman will remain a part of Dancing With the Stars in perpetuity.

The late head judge of the ABC dance competition series was honored with a special trophy naming segment on Tuesday night's season 32 premiere. Goodman, who retired at the end of season 31 before his death in April, is now the namesake of the show's coveted top prize, re-christened the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy.

The season premiere kicked things off with the presentation, in which new cohost and former pro dancer Julianne Hough pointed out that Goodman was with the show for nearly all of its 31 seasons. "That's why as a tribute to him, we redesigned and renamed our prize," cohost Alfonso Ribeiro said. "Let's get a first look at the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy."

Cameras panned to the trophy, which sat near the judges' table. In addition to a plaque bearing Goodman's name, it also featured a small bowtie affixed to the trophy above the placard in a nod to Goodman's ever-present bowtie when he judged on the show.

"It's so fantastic that Len will always be going forward with us," Hough concluded.

Goodman served as head judge of Dancing With the Stars from its premiere in 2005 through his retirement in 2022. Prior to that, he worked for one year as head judge on the BBC One equivalent of the series, Strictly Come Dancing. The trophy dedication is a mark of what an integral part Goodman was in DWTS' history.


Adam Rose via Getty Images Len Goodman on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Earlier this fall, executive producer Conrad Green announced plans to honor Goodman by naming the trophy in his honor. Green also told EW that the show plans to continue to honor the late head judge throughout the season, including with a potential performance tribute in a later episode.

At this time, there is no intention to replace Goodman on the judging panel. Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough will continue in their roles as judges without Goodman as their leader.

"I've always felt Len is irreplaceable," Green said. "He's such an important part of the history of the show and such an important part of the reason the show is successful [with] his honesty, his specialist ballroom knowledge, and him coming genuinely from that world. His legacy of what he's brought to the show is amazing. He's always been that guy who's protected ballroom dancing on the show. He will be missed terribly."

Dancing With the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC and Disney+.

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