Tom Bergeron Slams the EP Who Fired Him From DWTS

Tom Bergeron

Getty Tom Bergeron

Former “Dancing With the Stars” host Tom Bergeron recently opened up about being fired from the show in a more candid way than he has before, specifically addressing the executive producer who ultimately fired him and co-host Erin Andrews after season 28.

Here is what Bergeron had to say:

Bergeron Said He ‘Wanted to do a Show That People Would Watch’ and the EP ‘Didn’t’

On an episode of Vicki Abelson’s podcast “Game Changers,” the host asked Bergeron to recount for her listeners what went down during his final few years on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Bergeron said that 2018 was “the pivotal year” in what would turn out to be Bergeron and the show parting ways because they brought in Andrew Llinares to be the co-showrunner with — or so Bergeron thought.

“Twenty-eighteen was sort of the pivotal year. … They brought in a person to be a co-showrunner, or so I thought, and it turned out that wasn’t quite his role,” said Bergeron. “He kind of elbowed out the woman who was extremely talented and had been running the show quite well. He and I, it was clear we had different agendas. I wanted to do a show that people would watch and he didn’t. [laughs].”

The woman Bergeron is referring to is Ashley Edens-Shaffer, an executive producer who was running things after Rob Wade left in 2017, per Variety. Wade replaced original showrunner and executive producer former executive producer Conrad Green when Green departed the show in 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Interestingly, Green is returning to the show amidst the move to Disney Plus, according to Variety, and Bergeron has said Green is the “only person” who would get him to consider returning to the show as the host.

But back to the “Game Changers” podcast. Bergeron also got a dig in at Llinares’ idea to do an all-athletes season that only ran for four weeks.

“[I]n 2018, there was a four-week athlete season or something like that that I just thought was not produced very well, which was my first indication [that things were not going well].” said Bergeron, adding, “Then the season in 2018, I think that was the one Bobby Bones won, they were changing the voting around. There were things where it just seemed like we were losing focus a bit, to me. I think the show got a little too big for its own britches sometimes, I think some of the production numbers were overly complex and the dancing kind of got lost in that. But those are easy-to-fix things.”

In fact, when Bergeron heard the news that Green is returning to the show, he texted him and told him the most important thing he could do when he returns is to give the professional dancers back their creative control.

“I texted him … and I said, look, the first thing you need to do is give the pros their control back and their self-respect back and their dignity back because they’re the heart and soul of it, I think. You start minimizing the appreciation for what they can bring to it and you’re just asking to be canceled,” said Bergeron on “Game Changers.”

Bergeron Also Said Llinares Basically Lied to Him Ahead of Season 28

Bergeron has been outspoken before about his objections to the show casting political figures and he reiterated those feelings on the podcast.

“[T]his is my perspective on what the show at its best was and I think it was a two-hour escape from the rest of your week and the rest of your life, sort of a nice oasis of fun and obvious kitch and we had a great sense of humor about what we were doing, etc. They started bringing in more political people, which, up to a point, I didn’t have an issue with until we got to the cusp of an election year, which is where we were in what turned out to be my final season of 2019,” said Bergeron.

He went on to detail how in the summer of 2019, ahead of season 28, he had “a couple of meetings, one with this now-ousted showrunner” — Llinares stepped down from “Dancing With the Stars” in March 2022, to which Bergeron said “karma’s a b****” — and Bergeron left those meetings under the impression that the show would not cast any political figures. Then it did.

“They agreed with me until they actually booked the show and they booked a very divisive political figure,” said Bergeron, referring to former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, adding, “[I released] a statement saying OK, thought the show was going in one direction, clearly they’ve made a different decision, we can agree to disagree, but there you go. So it was a fairly tense final season for me and probably for them too.”

Bergeron then quipped, “If the same circumstances were to play out again, yeah, I would’ve done everything exactly the same except maybe at those lunches, I would’ve said, ‘No chance you’re lying to me right now, is there?'”

“Dancing With the Stars” returns for its 31st season this fall on Disney Plus.

READ NEXT: Tom Bergeron Says ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Just Made ‘Best Decision’ in Its History

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Arleen Elkins
Arleen Elkins
1 month ago

I love Tom Bergeron, and I would be soooooo happy if he & Erin came back – it’s not as fun & entertaining without them. I don’t know what it’s like to work for DWTS, but I really disagree with him about the “celebrity” Sean Spicer. I am extremely anti-Trump, I did not like Sean Spicer at all while he was the Press Secretary – he was the worst ever as far as I was concerned, so like Tom, I was extremely disappointed when they announced he would be on the show!!!!!!! But I enjoy the heck out of everybody else. And one thing I really have enjoyed is that on this show they can put on a celebrity I know nothing about, but after a few episodes you discover their personality & you end up loving them as much as you do the celebrities you knew all about & were glad they were in the show after all!!!!! After Spicer’s very first show, I realized he was a very nice (shock!!!!!) human being!!!!!! He was nothing like I thought he was as the Press Secretary!!!!! He was a great – lovable, even – guy who was not a natural dancer, but was doing his darndest to give it his best shot!!! He became my favorite contestant of the whole season (and many seasons after that) and I voted for him!!!!! (Sorry, Tom!!!) This show gave me a totally different impression of him!!!!!! This happens to me a lot (tho not as strongly) on this show & is one of the many reasons I loved this show!!!!!!! Get rid of Tyra Banks – she doesn’t fit – with her goofy outfits, she seems like she’s trying to make the show about HER and not about the pros & celebrities!!!!!!! She is ridiculous. Can’t take her at all. I really hope Tom & Erin come back, and that the pros get paid what they used to get, and that the pros WANT to come back, because I feel like I know & love the ones who have been on a lot in the past!!!!!!! They have great personalities, too!!!!!!!! I especially loved watching the incredible dance choreography that Derek Hough & Mark Balas came up with when they were the dancing pros!!!!!!!

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