“She was very happy for me, and she decided to leave,” Ribeiro, 51, told Us Weekly exclusively on Wednesday, September 13. “So, she was very happy that I was the person that, kind of, was moved up into her slot.”
The former DWTS winner said Banks offered him “nothing but love” noting that he was “made for this” role.
“I’m really focused on business, like, crazy, crazy focused on business. … I think it’s time to graduate from the dance floor to the stock market floor. Mic drop,” she told TMZ when her departure was announced in March. “I feel it’s time for me to really focus on my business and my entrepreneurship. I think it’s time. I think my heart and soul are in my business and in producing TV.”
Banks explained that she can’t focus on her SMiZE and Dream ice cream brand and other business ventures while “hosting a show.” Teasing upcoming projects, she noted that fans will get to see her “creating things, not just hosting things.”
Ribeiro, for his part, told Us on Tuesday that he and Hough, 35, are going to be “amazing” together.
“Our connection is fantastic. I think we’re going to be great together. The energy’s going to be great,” he shared. “I get to move down onto the floor this season and to the old Tom Bergeron role. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Ribeiro explained that he’ll get a chance to talk to the contestants on the dance floor “fresh” after they finish their routines, while Hough will handle things in the DWTS skybox.
“That’s where we start. We’ll see what happens, but yeah, that’s where we’re starting and it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be really awesome to be standing next to them,” he teased to Us. “The love is right here.”
“This is a great cast and the energy is going to be amazing, and I think the heart and the love and the soul of the show will be there for this season and I’m excited,” he gushed. “The anticipation, it’s like it’s real. This is the day that it becomes really real.”
DWTS premieres simultaneously on ABC and Disney+ on Tuesday, September 26, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi