“Dancing with the Stars” is currently airing season 32, and former winner Alfonso Ribeiro is co-hosting along with former pro and judge Julianne Hough. A couple of years before Ribeiro and Hough took over the co-hosting duties, Tom Bergeron was the long-standing host of DWTS. He recently admitted he never thought the show would manage to last for so long.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tom Bergerson Thought His Run As DWTS Host Would Be Brief
Bergeron opened up about how he landed the “Dancing with the Stars” hosting job on the October 15 episode of Cheryl Burke’s “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast. He recalled his agent Babette Perry calling him before the show debuted, telling him he had to watch a video she was going to send him about a possible gig. She made him promise to watch the video before giving her an answer.
According to Bergeron, Perry told him, “ABC wants you to host a summer show and you’re gonna do it.” She added, “Look, it’s live, you love working live, it’s a big hit in England, it’s gonna be on for six weeks.”
The BBC network in England overnighted a DVD of their version of the show, “Strictly Dancing,” and Bergeron immediately took a look. Bergeron told Burke, “Cheryl, within 15 minutes I was ‘in.'”
The entertainer went on to explain, “I thought it was a wonderful, sort of kitschy throwback to the old-style variety shows that I watched growing up.” Bergerson noted that it differed a bit, though, because “It had an awareness about it.”
Bergerson also figured, “It’s only gonna be a one-short summer deal, so why not.” He told his agent he would do it.
Burke asked Bergeron if he ever thought “Dancing with the Stars” would become as huge as it was. He responded by bringing up a conversation the two of them had many years ago while doing a segment on “Larry King Live.”
He mentioned a moment when he and Burke were together backstage at “Larry King Live.” Bergeron recalled that at the time, it was only about two seasons into “Dancing with the Stars.” Burke had asked him how long he thought the dance competition could last.
Bergeron recalled he told her, “At the outside, maybe five years.” He added, “I was trying to be more optimistic than you, but realistic based on my experience with television shows. But it turned out to be an anomaly.”
Bergeron Felt He & Burke Were Around During the ‘Best’ of DWTS
Burke also asked Bergeron how long he thought “Dancing with the Stars” would continue beyond season 32. He admitted, “That’s harder to gauge, cause network television isn’t what it was” when they were in the early days of the show.
Bergeron shared, “We had the best of it — we had the last big wave… It was the right show at the right time for people looking for a little bit of an escape.” Now, he noted, “It’s a very different world.”
As The Hollywood Reporter shared, Bergeron was let go from “Dancing with the Stars” in 2020. He had hosted the show for 15 years, and he had signed a 3-year contract shortly before he was fired.
The former “Dancing with the Stars” host shared the issues developed after he was outspoken about the show casting divisive, political figures. “Make us the wonderful escape from all that divisiveness for two hours a week,” Bergeron had urged.
Sean Spicer, a former Trump administration member, then joined the cast for the show. Bergeron spoke his mind on the issue, although he did host that season of the show.
However, that seemed to be the beginning of the end of his time on the show. Bergeron did tell Burke he had planned to leave “Dancing with the Stars” after that contract was up, anyway, though.
Bergeron’s experience with “Dancing with the Stars” did not wrap up the way he would have intended. However, he clearly enjoyed much of his run on the show. Considering that he initially thought would have lasted for a few years maximum, the “kitschy” series ultimately gave Bergeron much more than he had bargained for in the beginning.