Tom Bergeron is getting candid about his abrupt departure from the popular reality competition series “Dancing With the Stars.” Bergeron hosted the ABC show from 2005 to 2019, but in 2020 he was informed that he would not be asked back as host for the upcoming season and was quickly replaced by Tyra Banks.
Appearing on “Bob Saget’s Here for You” podcast, Bergeron admitted he hadn’t been happy on the show for some time. “In all candor, the show that I left was not the show that I loved,” Bergeron said, adding that he had an inkling his days were numbered. “The end of the season that turned out to be my last season, I kind of knew. So I took everything out of my dressing room that I really wanted… It was kind of obvious that we were butting heads.”
One of those head-butting incidents that became public was when Bergeron voiced his displeasure at the addition of former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the series in 2019. Bergeron took to Twitter that summer to note that he had hoped the show’s return would be “free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations” before acknowledging that these kinds of decision were ultimately the producers’ call.
But Bergeron revealed on Saget’s podcast that he had started feeling differently about “Dancing With the Stars” all the way back in the 2000s. “The show had changed a lot for me starting in early 2008,” he said. “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.” Alluding to the Spicer incident, Bergeron added, “I kind of saw it coming.”
While Bergeron’s “DWTS” exit was a shock to fans of the series, he has largely remained quiet about the details of his departure. He was even gracious in his exit announcement, which read in part, “It’s been an incredible 15 year run and the most unexpected gift of my career. I’m grateful for that and for the lifelong friendships made.”
As for why he has refrained from speaking publicly about tension behind the scenes, Bergeron said on Saget’s podcast that it seemed self-absorbed. “You know what nobody needs to hear? A whiny millionaire,” Bergeron said. “I mean, look. I had great fortune. I mean, I had two network shows running simultaneously for the better part of a decade and a half.”
Bergeron finished the discussion by saying the “Dancing With the Stars” ugliness is “pretty far in the rearview mirror” for him, adding that he’s moved on to other stuff now.