Dancing With the Stars pro Derek Hough is glad he decided to compete on Season 16 — where he has a good chance of winning a fourth time, alongside country star Kellie Pickler — but now we’re back in the hazy area.

Derek recently talked to the Associated Press about this season, next season and his non-DWTS projects. "I was gonna sit this season out," Derek said. "My mom hurt herself and she was in the hospital (but) I had this overwhelming feeling, 'You know what? I feel like this isn't the season I should be taking off. This isn't the one.' Now looking back, I'm really glad I made that decision because it's been one of my favorite seasons as far as creating and working with people."

The long-time pro told the AP he loves being on DWTS but he’s not sure he’ll return for the fall 2013 season, saying one issue is the time commitment. Pros don’t get any time off during the season. "It's been a huge factor in me not being able to do other certain projects,” he said. Then he added something that sounds like a reference to this story, which discussed the frustrating limitations of pros’ ABC contracts.

"I've been offered certain roles on certain shows that would've been fantastic but unfortunately they were (on) competing networks,” Derek said. “It's been difficult to juggle both things but I feel like it's coming to a point now where there's a lot more support" from ABC.

As you may know, Derek is joining forces with his sister Julianne Hough, a former two-time DWTS champ herself, to produce and choreograph a new dance series for Starz. If ABC is really freeing up Derek — and maybe other pros — to do more off-network shows, maybe we’ll be able to see even more of them on TV in the coming years. We’d miss Derek on DWTS, but every season we worry we’re going to lose him and he comes back, so we won’t officially bid him farewell just yet.

Source: Associated Press