Host Tom Berergon left a large hole when he was fired from Dancing With the Stars ahead of the 29th season in the fall of 2020. He recently opened up to author and talk show host Vicki Abelson about being fired, which did not actually come as a huge surprise to him. But there is something he “felt bad about” that he thinks was “collateral damage” of getting rid of him.
Bergeron Wasn’t Surprised About Being Fired Because He Butted Heads With the Show Over the Years
During the interview, Abelson commented that everyone loves Bergeron and he cracked, “Not everybody, let me tell ya! I did get fired,” which opened up a discussion about his time at Dancing With the Stars and why he got fired.
Bergeron admitted that he saw this coming from way back because he had become outspoken about when he had issues with what the show was doing.
“The show had changed a lot for me starting in early 2008,” said Bergeron. “The show I left was not the show that I loved. We had very clear, sometimes public, differences of opinion about the new showrunner and some of the execs and happily, I was at a point in my life and career where I didn’t have to just shut up and take it. I decided to go public with some concerns I had at that time and I think that set the stage for it. I kind of saw it coming.”
Bergeron does not get into specifics during this interview, but he has previously been outspoken about casting changes he didn’t agree with, like President Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer.
After Spicer’s casting was announced, Bergeron took to Twitter to give his side of things, saying that he had offered casting suggestions for season 28 in the hope that the show “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.”
Some thoughts about today pic.twitter.com/aCQ4SHrGCI
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) August 21, 2019
He went on to say that the show went “in a different direction” and that “it is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long term interests of the franchise.”
He later told Sirius XM’s EWive that he would have preferred “to avoid any political lightning rods.”
Spicer was the latest in a string of politically-adjacent casting choices dating back to season nine in 2009 when Rep. Tom DeLay competed. Other examples include Bristol Palin, who was on seasons 11 and 15, Rick Perry from season 23, and Tripp Johnston Palin on Dancing With the Stars: Juniors in 2018.
Bergeron Feels Bad About Co-Host Erin Andrews
Bergeron was pretty much at peace with his firing, but he did say that he felt like his co-host Erin Andrews was “collateral damage” from it, which means she was someone who felt the injury when she was not the intended target.
“The thing I felt bad about was that I felt like, from my perspective, I’m sure they might say something different, I felt like Erin was collateral damage, which I felt bad about,” said Bergeron, adding that he has no regrets about anything he has said over the years.
What he does miss is the people. He cares greatly about so many of the people who work on the show and for that reason, he hopes that people will keep tuning in.
“I had a wonderful run, it was a great, great gift in my career and I have nothing but fond feelings for the very large percentage of time that I was there,” said Bergeron, adding that he “appreciate(s)” that Abelson said she doesn’t watch it now that he’s gone, but “there are a lot of people that [he loves] who are still on that show” who he hopes “have long careers ahead of them.
“I would encourage you to support them,” said Bergeron.
He’s Sure He and Erin Would Have Had Fun With Social Distancing
Bergeron is nothing if not funny and in true goofy Bergeron fashion, he hilariously cracked that if he and Andrews had been hosting in season 29, they would have had so much fun with the social distancing practices.
“I miss the people I care about. I thought Erin and I would have had a ball playing with the restrictions during COVID. We would’ve had fun with it,” said Bergeron.
Dancing With the Stars will hopefully return with season 30 in 2021. ABC has not yet officially announced a renewal and premiere date.