Tom Bergeron, the former host of “Dancing with the Stars,” has spilled on “the one betrayal” that led to him being fired from the show he hosted for 15 years.
Bergeron said on Cheryl Burke’s “Sex, Lies and Spray Tans” podcast that he met with the series showrunner and a producer about the direction of the 2019 season, and was adamant that the show should stay apolitical ahead of a heated election year.
“Don’t go there,” Bergeron recalled saying to the agreement of both. “Just make us the wonderful escape from all that divisiveness for two hours a week.”
A few weeks later, Bergeron was given the lineup for Season 28 of “Dancing with the Stars” – which included former White House Press Secretary for Donald Trump Sean Spicer.
“I said, ‘Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn’t do. And I would have responded the same way if they had booked Hillary Clinton, whom I voted for,” Bergeron said. “Don’t go there. This is not right time. Play to our strengths. Be the show that gives people a break from all this bulls–t.”
Bergeron said he was “furious” at the casting choice and felt like he had been “lied to by people who were in charge.” Given his opposition, he offered to take the season off. In exchange the producers offered to let him out of his hosting contract altogether. “That’s how strongly they felt,” he said.
The former host also opened up about his decision to publicly condemn the casting choice, saying that he was “at least going to let people know that they f–king lied to me” and that “up until that point there were people of character there.” He intentionally did not let ABC know his statement was coming.
“They had screwed me, I’m going to screw them,” Bergeron said on the podcast.
Despite his moral opposition to Spicer’s casting, Bergeron emphasized that he was polite to Spicer during his time on the show. He wished Spicer a happy birthday and noted that he wasn’t the one that put the former press secretary in the highly criticized green blouse. He also emphasized that he would have been just as outraged if former President Barack Obama had been cast on the show.
“It wasn’t about my political beliefs. It was about my feeling about the show,” Bergeron said. “What is this show at this best? And what was happening was we were suddenly becoming this show at its worst.”
Later, Bergeron’s sense that his time was coming to an end proved to be true. The host was fired from “Dancing with the Stars” after 15 years and 443 episodes as its host.