Tom Bergeron Slams ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Producers

Getty TV host Tom Bergeron attends Ed Asner's 90th Birthday Party

Former “Dancing With the Stars” host Tom Bergeron had strong words for the producers and why he thinks things went wrong once Andrew Llinares took over as showrunner and how he has advised incoming showrunner Conrad Green to fix things.

Bergeron Said Producers ‘Didn’t Know What They Were Doing’ & Were ‘Starting to Disrespect the Pros’

On an episode of Vicki Abelson’s podcast “Game Changers,” Bergeron did a deep dive into what has gone on at “Dancing With the Stars” in the past few years since Andrew Llinares took over as showrunner in 2018. He cited a few things that are “easy to fix” but then basically said that the big issue was that the show stopped listening to the professional dancers.

“I think in 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 the right way],” 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 he added that those things are “easy to fix.” What was a much bigger problem was that the show was “starting to disrespect the pros.”

“When you get into, as I think they did in the couple of years since I’ve been gone, I felt that they were already starting to disrespect the pros,” said Bergeron.

He continued, “You weren’t hearing their last names anymore, they weren’t able to do their own choreography or choose their own wardrobe and these are — I’ve worked with some of them for, they’re dear friends and I’ve known them for almost 20 years now. They know what they’re doing and these people who came in who thought they knew better didn’t know what they were doing. So that was the first thing.”

Bergeron Said He Has Advised Conrad Green to Give the Control Back to the Pros

Conrad Green was the original executive producer and showrunner for “Dancing With the Stars” from its inception through the end of season 18. He is now being brought back to head the show as it moves to Disney Plus, according to Variety, which Bergeron has said might give the show a “new spring in its step.”

But he also said Green needs to change how production deals with the professional dancers.

“I texted [Green] … 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.

He then laughed and quipped, “Well, it was canceled.”

“I should put an asterisk. It’s been repositioned. It’s no longer on ABC. It’ll be on Disney Plus. Now that could be [a good thing] — you know, streaming is where so much is happening right now,” said Bergeron.

He went on to say that moving to Disney Plus could be “a brilliant, timely way to give the show more life.”

“You bring Conrad back and you’ve improved your odds markedly,” said Bergeron.

He also said that when the news first broke at Deadline that Green was in talks to come back, he sent Green a video message saying that he was the only person who could possibly convince Bergeron to come back to the show.

“I was having lunch with Cheryl Burke and Cheryl was the one that told me that Conrad was talking to them, so we sent him a video from the restaurant and I said, ‘You son of a b****, you’d be the only person that would make me even think about it,’ so, yeah … you never know,” said Bergeron, adding, “Irrespective of me, I’m just happy that they finally came to their senses and are bringing somebody in that can really right the ship.”

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

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