Tom Bergeron Admits He Felt Betrayed by ‘DWTS,’ Which Led to His Departure From the Series
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Tom Bergeron recently opened up about his departure from Dancing With The Stars. At this point, it’s safe to say we know that Bergeron doesn’t take any form of betrayal lightly. The former host admitted that controversial casting dictated the end of his role on the show.
Tom Bergeron Opens Up About Dancing With The Stars Casting Betrayal
Bergeron recently reunited with former DWTS pro Cheryl Burke for an episode of Sex, Lies and Spray Tans podcast. Reflecting on his boisterous show exit, he revealed how casting of former press secretary Sean Spicer during season 29 played up a part in his exit.
“I said, ‘Well look, 2019 is the threshold to an election year in America, we are a very divided country. Just nobody, of any party, don’t go there — just make us the wonderful escape from all that divisiveness for two hours a week’,” he said.
Believing that his advice was taken seriously, he then received a phone call a few weeks later. At the time, the showrunner and another producer gave him a rundown of the celebrities and public figures set to compete on the show, then finding out that Spicer is among those in the list.
“I said, ‘Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn’t do. Don’t go there. This is not the right time, play to our strengths, be the show that gives people a break from all this bullsh*t’,” he said.
Standing by his opinion, Bergeron suggested that he “take the season off.” However, the showrunner and producer instead advised him to let him out of the contract. According to Bergeron, it “pissed” him off how strongly they felt for the casting.
“So at that moment, I knew this is probably my last season, because of that one betrayal,” he said. “Up until that point, there were people of character there.”
Bergeron acted as the DWTS host from 2005 to 2020, leading the show for a total of 28 seasons. In July 2020, he announced on X (formerly known as Twitter) he had been informed that the show will be continuing without him.
He Wrote a Statement About The Show’s Choice, Wants to “Screw” Show Executives Back
When he knew about the show’s casting decision, he wasn’t apologetic enough to not retaliate. Thus, he decided to issue a stated in response to Spicer’s casting to “let people know that they f*cking lied to me.”
“So I wrote the statement that I wrote, that did not name anybody, that did not name a political party,” he continued. “It merely said, ‘I was told certain things when I was asked my opinion, they agreed, and now they’ve thrown a curveball.’ I even went so far as to say it’s their right to do that. They’re the producers of the show, if that’s what they want to do they are entitled to do that. We will have to agree to disagree.”
Burke asked if the DWTS executives anticipated his statement. Bergeron answered confidently, saying that “they didn’t deserve to know.”
“They had screwed me. I’m gonna screw them,” he said. “But I wanted the viewers to know this was a step too far to me. This was a step too far on the cusp of an election year. And again — had it been a Democrat, same statement.”
During his appearance on Bob Saget‘s Here for You podcast in 2021, Bergeron claimed he wasn’t surprised when he was fired from DWTS. Additionally, he said that the “the show that I left was not the show that I loved.”
“So at the end of the season that turned out to be my last season, I kind of knew,” he said. “I took everything out of my dressing room that I really wanted. … It was kind of obvious that we were kind of butting heads [behind the scenes]. It wasn’t a pleasant [experience].”
Dancing With The Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC and Disney+.