A Dancing With The Stars judge said she believed plans for the sixth season were well underway before its shock axing.

TVNZ announced on Friday that the top-rating show was taking a "rest" next year because it was a "very marginal venture, even in strong market conditions".

Host Jason Gunn and co-host Candy Lane were phoned with the news on Thursday.

But judge Alison Leonard found out with the rest of the nation - when TVNZ issued a press release the following day.

"It sucks really doesn't it?" Leonard said. "I understand that things were well underway and being organised [for 2010 show]. It's obviously a purely financial decision, which is a real shame.

"Maybe they can spend their money on some cheap, nasty American television show for us to not watch instead?

"But they are a business and they have to make a business decision. It's just a shame it was that one."

TVNZ did not return calls yesterday.

Leonard will continue hosting her breakfast radio show on Easy Mix and visit the United Kingdom to stay with fellow judge, feisty Brit Craig Revel Horwood.

She said Revel Horwood emailed her yesterday to say he was disappointed by TVNZ's decision.

Gunn is focusing on his new breakfast radio slot on Classic Hits in Christchurch while Lane is working on a secret venture.

"I've got a huge project I'm working on at the moment. I haven't had a lot of time to mope," she says. "Hopefully when things pick up something else exciting will come along on the TV front."

As a veteran TV host, Gunn said he knew a call from a network means one of two things - the offer of a new show or the axe for an existing one.

"It's a mixture of emotions but we've been very lucky to get five good years out of it," he said. "It's a very expensive show to make."

"Ratings have been huge. Voting numbers have been up. It's not going because people went off the show. It's going because it's another sign of the financial times."

But it's not all bad for Kiwi shows. Gunn said he had spoken to TVNZ about future projects and "they've got plans for other big shows".

Dancefloor memories

Shane Cortese and Nerida Lister denied rumours of romance after being partnered in the first season. They announced they were dating the following year, married last year and have a 2-year-old son, Kees.

In the series' second season in 2006, viewers watched in horror as Act leader Rodney Hide dropped his dance partner Krystal Stuart at the end of their cha-cha-cha performance.

In 2007, Suzanne Paul had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction when her dress got caught in partner Stefano Olivieri's microphone.

Kiwi entertainer John Rowles dropped out of the show's fifth season earlier this year just three weeks into the competition, saying he was "suffering from exhaustion".

In the same season, contestant Geraldine Brophy - Moira Crombie on Shortland Street - was told by judge Craig Revel-Horwood she reminded him of the "dancing elephant in Fantasia", before saying her dancing was "beautiful".

- HERALD ON SUNDAY