Dancing With the Stars fans may have felt blindsided by news of Tom Bergeron‘s firing in July 2020… but Bergeron himself did not.
On a recent episode of the Bob Saget’s Here for You podcast, Bergeron — who abruptly left the ABC competition series, along with co-host Erin Andrews, after Season 28 — spoke more candidly about the circumstances of his exit, revealing that he “kinda knew” it was coming.
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Bergeron traced his eventual departure back to Summer 2019, just a few weeks before Dancing returned for Season 28. Around that time, Bergeron said, there were “personnel changes behind the scenes” at the show, “and those people and I did not see eye-to-eye about how best to present the show,” particularly when it came to casting political personalities. Per Bergeron, he felt that Dancing should be “an oasis, for two hours every week, from all of the nonsense and the divisiveness going on right now, and let’s not put political people in there.”
Thus, when former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was added to the Season 28 roster, Bergeron felt “quite caught by surprise and taken aback and a bit misled,” particularly after the producers he’d spoken with seemed to agree that politics should stay out of the ballroom. At the time, Bergeron voiced his displeasure about the casting on Twitter, and as he told Saget, “We differed on that, I was public about that, and I don’t think that sat well with the producer or the network.”
Bergeron went on to say that by the time Season 28 ended, “the show that I left was not the show that I loved,” and because “it was kind of obvious that we were butting heads” behind the scenes, he saw his firing coming. Still, the former host — who will next preside over an in-the-works Tic-Tac-Dough remake for NBCUniversal — said he looks back on his 15-year run “with really great fondness for the vast majority of it,” and he encouraged longtime Dancing fans to continue tuning in despite his absence.
“I want people to still watch it and support [the cast and crew] and understand that, sure, it’s different, but there’s still very, very talented people who are going to be on your screens,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised that was my last season, so there was no blue period. Actually, I think Erin and I had more fun being fired than virtually anybody.”
Dancing With the Stars, now hosted by Tyra Banks, is currently in its 30th season, airing Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. A special Tuesday installment airs tonight, also at 8 pm, with the second half of this season’s Disney Week performances.
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