Cheryl Burke Opens Up About Her Future With 'Dancing With the Stars'

Michael Maloney
Preview ABC/Justin Stephens

Cheryl Burke was denied her chance to win a third Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing With the Stars on September 30 when she and celeb partner, ex-Baltimore Ravens player Ray Lewis, had to drop out of the competition due to his foot injury.

Still, the fan favorite may be continuing on with the program in a new capacity. TV Insider caught up with Burke after the show to talk about her future, what changes she’d like to see on the show, and whether or not she’d like to see husband Matthew Lawrence (Boy Meets World) sign up for a future season.

“I’ve been on the show for 22 seasons so, I think everything that you could possibly imagine has happened to me,” Burke says of her untimely departure from the show, noting this has happened in the past. “Wayne Newton had to bow out around this time [in Season 5] and Tom DeLay fractured both his feet and had to bow out [in Season 9] and now, this. It happens. It’s sad. It’s too soon.”

Traditionally, ejected pro dancers take part in group dances and are on standby in case another pro takes ill, but there be more in store for Burke than that. She tells TV Insider that she’s having a meeting with producers to discuss her future role(s?) with the show.

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

“I’d love to be a mentor to these [remaining] couples,” she says, noting that pros consulted dance duos on last year’s Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.  “We all need guidance and a third eye. I’d like to be there for anyone who wants help or for someone who wants someone to watch their dance and give an opinion.”

Burke also wouldn’t mind taking a seat along side the show’s judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli – especially if and/or when she and her husband start a family.

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“I’m 35 years old,” she muses. “It’s time to think about that. I could be pregnant and judging. I just can’t be pregnant and dancing.”

Burke says some of the new policies implemented this season in terms of voting and judging are positive, but she would like to see the return of the Tuesday night results show, which fell off the network lineup a while back.

 

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“I don’t think it’s fair for the West Coast,” she says, noting that voting during the show (new to the program this season) is closed by the time viewers in the Pacific time zone even see the episode. “Also, we have Monday Night Football [competing against us]. Last week, for example, I think, football was airing in [Ray’s] region.”

Burke is saddened by Lewis having to withdraw from the competition, but there’s a silver lining to it all. “It’s been eight years [since my injury] and I’d decided to leave it alone,” Lewis says. “Now, I’ve seen a doctor who can fix my toe. I’m really super-excited.”

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Depending on when the surgery is scheduled and his recovery time, Lewis might be able to return to the ballroom for the November finale. He certainly wants back on that dance floor “They’ve got to give me a redo,” enthuses Lewis.

How does Burke feel about the idea of having celebrities on standby to take over for injured competitors?

(ABC/Craig Sjodin)

“I don’t think that’s fair,” she offers, noting that it’s a totally difference scenario if a celeb drops out before the first night of competition as Christie Brinkley did, prompting producers to cast her daughter, Sailor Brinkley Cook, in her place. Burke recalls TV host Nancy O’Dell and singer Jewel needing to leave the show in 2009 prior to the competition commencing due to injuries and they were also substituted with new celebrities.

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“I do think they need to give us more time for training,” Burke says. “We used to do six weeks of training [before the competition started]. I’m not saying it should be that, but now we have [only] three weeks. We need to go back to having four or five weeks because your body’s in shock. [Being on this show] is no joke. This is full-on, seven days a week. Your body is not used to the way it’s moving. We need to avoid injuries.”

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

DWTS has seen real-life couples compete on the show – how would Burke feel if Lawrence signed up for the competition? “I’m scared for our relationship [if that happens],” she says with a laugh. “I’m a different person when I’m a dance teacher!”

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Dancing With the Stars, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC