DWTS executive producer Conrad Green, showrunner for the ABC series since its launch, is leaving the show after the current spring 2014 Season 18.

Deadline says he's exiting to join FOX's upcoming show Utopia as executive producer. Conrad's nine-year stint with DWTS will end with the May 20 season finale.

“I’m enormously proud of everything we’ve achieved on Dancing with the Stars,” Conrad told Deadline. “This has been the job of a lifetime and I’m thankful for every performance, every dancer and every colleague I’ve worked with over the years, and to ABC and BBC Worldwide Prods. for these past eighteen seasons. What was once a small dancing show has thrived and become a cultural phenomenon. But after almost 10 years, the opportunity to take on a project with the immense potential of Utopia was simply too good to pass up. The ambition and scale of the challenge is thrilling. I’ll miss everyone I’ve worked with on Dancing With the Stars and look forward to this next exciting chapter.”

It sounds like he pulled a Billy Dee, and left of his own accord, rather than being voted out. But who knows. DWTS has been slipping in the ratings in the past few years, thanks in part to The Voice as competition, but some fans have also been frustrated with the constant changes. Obviously a new showrunner will have to be announced, which may or may not signal more changes in the direction of the show. We have no details on that front yet; Deadline just ended their story with "Dancing is expected to return next season, with a replacement for Green to be announced."

Hopefully the transition for fans will be painless, since we've already been through enough twists and turns. What will this mean for the celebs and pros of Season 19 and future seasons (if there are any, and we hope there will be)? That remains to be seen too. As the showrunner, Conrad may have been responsible for a lot of the major DWTS changes, but the network execs had their say too, so it's hard to know who was responsible for what. And we don’t know what’s coming. The devil that you know…

For now, we thank Conrad for 18 seasons of a show we still love dearly or we wouldn’t bother obsessing over it. Good luck in the future!

Source: Deadline