Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy Dish on 'Dancing with the Stars' Host, Future of Show and More

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Peta Murgatroyd, Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Dancing with the Stars returns for Season 32 tonight and once again Peta Murgatroyd will be in the ballroom. This season she’s partnered with The Brady Bunch alum Barry Williams, which is happy news. But once again, Maksim Chmerkovskiy will not be partnering up with a celebrity and he tells Parade that his DWTS days have been over for a few years now.

“For me, my time as a pro is definitely over, my time as a participant on the project probably, too, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not a fan of the network and this product,” he says. “I’m definitely going to be in the ballroom, though, just not on camera.”

As he points out, it’s not as if the Chmerkovskiys aren’t well represented. There’s his wife Peta, his brother Val, and Val’s wife Jenna Johnson, so Maks is still very much connected to the series, and he is also supportive.

“I’m a big fan of dancing on television,” he continues. “The way I feel is I wish Dancing never goes off television. Watching So You Think You Can Dance come and go, it feels as if this needs to be supported.”

And he will give his support to his wife, who is already hard at work. Peta has been working with Barry for a couple of weeks now and she says that despite the fact that he’s 68 years old, he’s in a league of his own.

“I love Barry Williams,” she says. “He’s such an iconic American TV star, so I’m thrilled to have him as a partner. He’s such a gem of a human. He’s so kind, so lovely, so I have no issues this season. I am very happy. I think he might be the dark horse of the competition. Barry’s got something special about him, he’s done a lot of Broadway. He hasn’t done a lot of dancing so to speak, but he knows how to place himself. He’s been on stage before, so I think his stage presence is really going to help him out this season.”

Barry Williams, Peta Murgatroyd<p>ABC/Andrew Eccles</p>
Barry Williams, Peta Murgatroyd

ABC/Andrew Eccles

As for who is her and Barry's biggest competition, which includes actors, comedians and athletes, the jury is still out on that, but Peta says that tonight after everyone completes their first dance is the time when you can really tell who has all the right stuff.

“You can suss people out and you can kind of get an idea of who the finalists are going to be usually,” she says. “We always pick them right, but I think everyone’s our competition right now.”

Related: Get a First Look at the New Dancing with the Stars Hosting Team

In addition to the new 14 celebrities competing tonight, there's something else new. When Season 32 premieres, Alfonso Ribeiro takes over as host for Tyra Banks on the ballroom floor and Julianne Hough moves up to the skybox, where Alfonso was last season.

“We were all thrilled that Alfonso hopped on last season,” Peta says. “I think he’s the perfect fit. You have to be a certain type of person to be the host of Dancing with the Stars. Tom Bergeron had that job for many, many years, he had that for a reason because he really loved the show.”

And Maks picks up her thought, “He loved the show, that’s why it worked. This show needs a captain of the ship, and Tom was always our fearless leader when things would go haywire. DWTS is a live project and many things happened that he was able to step in and navigate us through. He was so witty and so perfect, but the one main factor why that worked is because he actually really loved the show. And so, for Alfonso to step in in this role, it would have to have been somebody like that. Alfonso is that guy.”

In addition to talking about Dancing with the Stars, we spoke to Peta and Maks about their latest collaboration for the launch of Hallmark + Venmo Cards and why it was the perfect partnership and becoming parents for the second time,

You are new parents for the second time, and not that long ago. Peta, are you in shape to go to DWTS?

Peta: I’m in pretty good shape. I have a couple more pounds to lose to get back to my pre-baby body, but I think dancing’s going to do that. Especially within the next two or three weeks, I think I can get back to my original body. But it’s not really the main focus for me right now. I’m still dancing as much as I would do and just as good if I was 10 lbs. lighter. So, I think that for me it’s just getting Barry to the level that I need him to be at, just to be super focused on my partner and to have a great relationship with him. But yeah, I’m feeling great.

Peta Murgatroyd, Shai Alexander Chmerkovskiy, Maksim Chmerkovskiy<p>Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images</p>
Peta Murgatroyd, Shai Alexander Chmerkovskiy, Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

Maks, are you going to stay home and parent while Peta is dancing?

Maks: Yes, I am taking over the duty of our 6-year-old, watching out for him. It’s a hard job from one to two, but if you do it right and if you’re the right type of couple … what we’ve done is, obviously, she has no separation from the baby, and I have nothing to do with the baby until the baby is of an age where it’s now my responsibility. I mean like a dude’s participation.

Peta: Newborns need their mommas really more and he can’t nurse.

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Maks: That’s a perfect time for me, too. With the first one, I was just on the standby being told, “Bring this, bring that.” With the second one, I am with our first one. He’s a boy, he’s in first grade dealing with a lot of social stuff, dealing with a lot of new things that come up. We are having conversations on deep subjects, that’s what I am doing.

This is papa time; you know what I’m saying? I was ready for that for 40 freakin’ years, so that’s my biggest joy and excitement today is having boys, but having the 6-year-old that I raised, I can say that, and I’m now sort of entering into the next phase.

That way we’re making it work, where we have clear jobs, clear responsibilities. And no, I’m not just standing around being told, “Hey, now you change diapers.” We’re not that couple. We have a great division of what we’re doing. I’m ecstatic, I’m the luckiest guy for having two beautiful kids, and an incredible person to do this with. And again, the biggest secret to the success is find yourself someone who wants to do it and wants to put in effort, and then it’s easy.

Let’s talk about your partnership with Hallmark and Venmo for cards for all occasions. What it is about the idea of sending physical cards, rather than e-cards, that made you want to pair up with Hallmark + Venmo?

Peta: Well, it was definitely an authentic partnership for us because I’m the biggest card giver in the household. I’m the one that loves a handwritten note, a handwritten card. I give them out for birthdays, weddings, everything, even to cast members from the show. I kind of had to get Maks on board with writing sentimental cards early on in our relationship because that just means so much more to me than a present ever would.

Hallmark + Venmo cards<p>Courtesy: Peta Murgatroyd, Maksim Chmerkovskiy</p>
Hallmark + Venmo cards

Courtesy: Peta Murgatroyd, Maksim Chmerkovskiy

So, to be teaming up with Hallmark and Venmo seems to be just the right fit, and it’s a first of its kind type of collaboration. What you do is you get a physical, beautiful card that you can personalize, plus it has the QR code on the inside where you just scan it and give the present of the Venmo cash from your Venmo account. So, it’s so easy, so convenient, and we kind of wonder why we didn’t think of this ourselves.

Related: Here's the Celebrity and Professional Cast for Dancing with the Stars Season 32

What keeps it safe? Is there something that keeps people from being able to use it when it’s not intended for them?

Maks: Yes, the thing is that it’s the same as putting cash in a card. For me, cards were a glorified vessel for cash, it could have been just an envelope really, for me. Peta did teach me the value of personalizing and writing messages. The Venmo part is absolutely brilliant because of the simplicity of transferring the cash, the fact that you don’t have to stop by on the way to an event to get cash. And to answer your question, when you buy a card and then you scan the QR code, that’s when the cash is fulfilled. So, nobody can steal it unless somebody takes the card and knows your Venmo.

Do you somehow register it?

Maks: Look, the fun part is, again, I come from a culture where every celebration that you’re invited to, let’s say it’s a restaurant outing, you pay for your spot with the cash that you bring as a present. And so, for me, that’s the value here, is that somewhere that I go, they don’t just enjoy my company, they also enjoy that I’m aware of how this is done, right? And so, for me it’s incredible. People nowadays don’t use cash, Venmo is in our life. Me personally, I use it dozen time a week from paying nannies or babysitters to the housekeeper or somebody walking the dog, so I think it was incredible.

Dancing with the Stars season 32 premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Next, Everything You Need To Know About Dancing with the Stars Season 32