Former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron recently spoke with author Vicki Abelson about how he was not surprised that the show fired him. But something that did leave him feeling “blindsided” actually happened almost a year prior to when the show let him and co-host Erin Andrews go. Here’s what Bergeron had to say about it.
Bergeron Felt ‘Blindsided’ By the Season 28 Cast
Some thoughts about today pic.twitter.com/aCQ4SHrGCI
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 21, 2019
In a LoveStop podcast episode with Vanessa Marcil and her son Kassius, as part of a running bit they do, Bergeron was asked to talk about three P words (they choose different letters every time they do this). His first word was “principles” and it sparked Bergeron to talk about the statement he issued when the show cast former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on season 28.
Bergeron said he felt that he had to take “a principled stand” when his principles “didn’t necessarily mesh” with the goals of the Dancing With the Stars producers and the network.
“[I had] to take a principled stand about how I felt about bringing politics into the show at a time when I thought it was important to be an oasis from that. It wasn’t that I was taking a stand against a person or a party,” said Bergeron.
He went on to say that he spoke privately with Spicer after he released the statement and told him “it wasn’t about him.”
“I kept [my statement] very generic and I told the particular person — who they blindsided me with after assuring me that they weren’t going political — that it wasn’t about him. He just happened to be the political person they booked. Had it been somebody of my political persuasion that they had booked, I would have released the exact same statement,” said Bergeron.
He also said that he and the show and the network agreed to disagree and the network chose to do “what they believed to be in the best interests of the show going forward.”
“There obviously was a change of focus and opinion, but I thought it was important for me, for my own peace of mind, to say what I said in my public statement,” said Bergeron.
Bergeron Wondered If That Casting Choice Led to the Ratings Drop
Season 28 saw the ratings for Dancing With the Stars slip a bit year over year. In season 27, the show averaged 7.12 million viewers and in season 28, it averaged 6.7 million viewers. In the coveted 18-49 demographic, it also took a slight dip.
Bergeron remarked on the podcast that “you can attribute that to a number of things” because Dancing With the Stars has been on a long time, but he doesn’t think “that particular booking helped.”
He also said that he knows the show had political figures on in the past, but that was a different time.
“They had done people who were known for their politics as ‘celebrities’ in the past, but it wasn’t the kind of time it is now. I was particularly concerned because we were essentially in an election year,” said Bergeron, even though he said ABC kept arguing with him that 2019 wasn’t technically an election year, but he thought that the fall of 2019 was close enough to consider it so.
Dancing With the Stars has not yet officially been renewed for season 30, but if ABC does renew it, expect it to premiere in September 2021.