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New co-host cutting in on next ‘Stars’

Harris is 'Dancing' to hosting gig formerly held by Canning

ABC has checked Lisa Canning off its dance card.

Net said Thursday that E! News correspondent Samantha Harris will join Tom Bergeron as co-host of the upcoming second season of “Dancing With the Stars.” Nowhere in the release was there any mention of Canning, who will not be returning to the show, an ABC rep confirmed Thursday.

“A decision was made to go in a different direction,” the rep said.

Canning’s departure is reminiscent of what happened to Brian Dunkelman, who co-hosted the first season of “American Idol” with Ryan Seacrest. After the Fox skein became a hit, Dunkelman was nowhere to be found when the show returned for its second go-round, with Seacrest taking on solo hosting duties.

Exit of Canning is not a complete surprise, given her sometimes shaky perf during the summer run of “Dancing.” Skein airs live, and Canning at times seemed hard-pressed to keep up with the show’s fast pace.

Harris actually covered “Dancing” in her role as a reporter for E!, and she’ll keep her gig at the cabler.

In addition to E!, Harris has hosted skeins including “The Next Joe Millionaire” and “AMC Access.” She’s also had several acting roles (“CSI,” “George of the Jungle”).

“Dancing” returns to ABC’s sked Thursday at 8 p.m.

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