Marissa Jaret Winokur Dropped as Host of Dance Your Ass Off
01/11/2010 AT 12:00 AM EST
"Dancing has been a big part of my life," says Mel B, a member of pop sensation, the Spice Girls. The announcement was made Sunday at the Television Critics' Association conference in Pasadena, Calif. "I kind of fell into it. I didn't go, 'I'm going to dance and lose weight.' I did it and it just ended up happening, which is brilliant!"
A rep for Winokur tells PEOPLE that the decision to not return for a second season was mutual. "Marissa's reasons for not returning to season 2 are the following: the format of the program did not allow her to interact with the contestants and offer them encouragement and support, and criticism she received from producers regarding her appearance," her rep says.
But executive producer, Dan Cutforth, says replacing Winokur was simply a matter of finding someone more relevant to the show's viewers.
"There was a portion of the audience that absolutely loved Winokur and a portion that didn't connect so much with her," says Cutforth. "We wanted to find a host that really, really connected with our core audience. The core Oxygen audience grew up Spice Girl fans!"
Mel B, a dancer, singer and mother of two, says to expect a Spice Girl announcement in a couple of months but until then, fans will have to get their fix of girl power on Dance Your Ass Off, which has yet to set a premiere date.
"I'm so excited about doing this show," she says, "because you get to know the contestants and follow them along on their story and their journey." --Elaine Aradillas and Monica RizzoJon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Scott Kirkland/INF