Dancing with the Stars Fires Music Director and Entire Band

02/04/2014 at 02:55 PM EST

Dancing with the Stars Fires Bandleader Harold Wheeler & Entire Band
Harold Wheeler and his band
Carol Kaelson/ABC
Six-time Tony Award-nominated bandleader and orchestrator Harold Wheeler will no longer appear on Dancing with the Stars – and neither will his 28-member band.

ABC and BBC Worldwide Productions announced the new season will premiere in March without Wheeler, 70, and his group of musicians and singers, USA Today reports.

"Our talented music director, Harold Wheeler, will not be joining us for season 18 of Dancing with the Stars," ABC said in a statement.

"Since season one, Harold and his band have performed brilliant music in our ballroom for our dancers and the American viewers at home. We are grateful to him and his band for their amazing work and years of collaboration. We wish him the best of luck."



It is unclear whether Wheeler and his band will be replaced by new musicians or if the show will transition to recorded music.

DWTS executive producer Conrad Green commented in September on the introduction of recorded music to the show.

"We feel that some types of music and types of songs, a lot of modern music particularly, is so produced that it's impossible for an 18-piece band to replicate that sound," Green told The Hollywood Reporter. "You get to a point where you're forcing a band to try and do a sound that they just literally can't pull off."

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