Strictly’s Bruno Tonioli is set to miss this year’s show and will judge the US version instead – which pays more money

BRUNO Tonioli looks to be out of this year’s Strictly after saying he will only do the US version amid the ongoing virus travel ban.

The judge, 64, usually flies between America and London each week to be on the panel for both shows.

But insiders say the BBC is not currently expecting Bruno to be available this year.

He told bosses he would stay in the US where he spends most of his time — and is paid significantly more for his appearances.

They have opted not to replace him and are prepared to have just three judges — Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.

A source said: “Things have been up in the air as everyone works out what is going to be possible. But Bruno has had to make a decision.

“There is no way to travel back and forth at the moment, so he’s told bosses in the UK that unfortunately he will be staying over there.

“He spends a lot of his time in the States now, and the truth is he does earn a lot more from the US version.

"The hope is things might change and he’ll be able to make at least a guest appearance.”

Italian choreographer Bruno has been on the Strictly panel since the show began in 2004 and remains a hugely popular fixture.

In recent years, he has been given a week’s break mid-series to allow him to recover from the intense traveling schedule.

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro has stood in for him. But the source added: “A decision has been taken that it’s Bruno or nobody.

"There won’t be any replacement. He’s one of a kind and a huge part of the show in the UK.

“Of course it will be a shame to lose him, but even if he can make it back for a couple of weeks later in the series, his seat will be waiting for him.”

The Sun last night told how this year’s series will be delayed by more than a month and launch on October 24 due to complications caused by the pandemic.

It will run for just nine weeks instead of the usual 13.

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