Tom Bergeron Recalls "Butting Heads" Before Dancing With the Stars Exit

Former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron reflected on what unfolded behind the scenes before parting ways with the ballroom competition show in 2020. Read on for his candid explanation.

By Samantha Schnurr Oct 12, 2021 1:50 PMTags
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Tom Bergeron is pulling back the curtain on his Dancing With the Stars exit—and his comments are not exactly a quickstep. 

During an appearance on Bob Saget's Here for You podcast, the veteran former host of ABC's reality ballroom competition series reflected on going separate ways with the show in 2020 ahead of its 29th season and after 15 years as a host. 

"In all candor, the show that I left was not the show that I loved," Bergeron told podcast host and Full House alum Bob Saget. "So at 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 kind of butting heads."

Why? "The great majority of the time that I was there it was wonderful," he prefaced before noting, "There were personnel changes behind the scenes and those people and I did not see eye to eye about how best to present the show, particularly when we were at a point where it was on only once a year."

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Before the 2019 season, Bergeron suggested that they "play to our strength."

"Let's be an oasis for two hours every week from all of the nonsense and the divisiveness going on right now," he recalled telling showrunners. "Let's not put political people in there."

However, after former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was cast as a contestant, Bergeron spoke out. "A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS' new Executive Producer, I offered suggestions for Season 28. Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, 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," the longtime host wrote on Twitter in August 2019. "Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often in Hollywood, 'go in a different direction.'"

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And it wasn't Spicer's party affiliation that spurred Bergeron's discontent. He explained to Saget, "I would have released the same statement if it was somebody I supported because I don't think they belonged here now."

As for whether he suffered a "blue period" after his exit, that was far from the case. "I wasn't surprised that that was my last season, so there was no blue period," he said. "Actually, I think Erin [Andrews] and I had more fun being fired than virtually anybody."

For example, after finding out Tyra Banks, who shares his initials, was their replacement, Bergeron tweeted, "I guess I won't be getting back my monogrammed towels."

Despite how things ended, some involved with the show still have Bergeron's support. "They're entitled to do the show the way they think is best, and so, I look back at the time I spent there with really great fondness for the vast majority of it," he told Saget. "And also there are people there on the show performing that I still care about, and I want them to have long careers. I want people to still watch it and support them and understand that sure, it's different. But, you know, there's still very, very talented people who were going to be on your screens in the fall."