Tom Bergeron reflects on “betrayal” that led to his exit from Dancing with the Stars in 2020

Tom Bergeron reflects on the “Betrayal” that led to him being fired from Dancing with the Stars in 2020
Credit: ABC

For over a decade, the degree of charm and humor that Tom Bergeron effortlessly emanates on screen became synonymous with the wildly popular dancing show, ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ There are a few presenters who have achieved this kind of fame from hosting roles by captivating viewers with their rapid comebacks and true enthusiasm for the work depending on their shoulders. He was a great addition to the show, but sadly, his journey was cut short!

In this shocking turn of events, Bergeron unexpectedly found himself being shown the exit door to the very show, which had over the years become his second home, leaving fans confused with many industry insiders alike wondering why the sudden decision was made by the network and the show producers. Ever since his exit from the show in 2020, the missing wit from the dancing competition series has been apparent, and it is lacking what Bergeron brought to the table for a while.

To address this subject, the veteran TV host, 68, sat down during the Monday episode (Oct. 23) of the “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast, where he revealed to the listener that he was fired from the star-studded reality dance competition back in 2020 after objecting to the casting of Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary Sean Spicer in Season 28. Bergeron told the podcast’s host, Cheryl Burke, a pro dancer who retired from “DWTS” in November 2022 after 26 seasons. 


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“In the summer of 2019, I had two lunches—one with that showrunner person and another one with his boss,” Tom remembered during his Oct. 23 appearance on fellow DWTS alum Cheryl Burke’s podcast, Sex, Lies and Spray Tans. “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.”

“And then a few weeks later, I get a phone call,” he continued. “And they rundown the list of who is going to be on the show, and this former showrunner says to me, ‘You might want to sit down for this last one.’ And then they told me who it was, the former press guy for Trump. 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 bulls–t.”

In reaction to the casting decision, Tom revealed that he suggested taking the season off during the same discussion, only to have the showrunner and producer on the phone remark they could let him out of the three-season deal he’d previously signed if he wished.

Tom Bergeron reflects on the “Betrayal” that led to him being fired from Dancing with the Stars in 2020

“And that really pissed me off,” Tom expressed, explaining that it was this move that led him to release his 2019 statement regarding the White House alum’s casting in the new season, which he later clarified he would have made even if the contestant had been of his preferred political party.

Tom also recalled, “My phone started blowing up. People were outraged. At that moment I knew, this was probably my last season. Because of that one betrayal. Because I’d been lied to by people who were in charge. Up until that point, there were people of character there.”

In addition to this, reports about Bergeron parting ways with the show in 2020, ahead of the series’ 29th season, started to circulate on the web heavily once it was announced that Tyra Banks was hired as the new host and would also serve as an executive producer.

He tweeted in a now-deleted post, “Just informed [Dancing With the Stars] will be continuing without me. 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. That said, now what am I supposed to do with all of these glitter masks?” 

“So I wrote the statement that I wrote, that did not name anybody, that did not name a political party,” he further stated in the podcast. He also counted, “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.”

Tom Bergeron reflects on the “Betrayal” that led to him being fired from Dancing with the Stars in 2020

“So at that moment, I knew this is probably my last season, because of that one betrayal. Up until that point, there were people of character there,” he added.

Bergeron further said he didn’t notify “DWTS” producers ahead of time that he’d be speaking out on X (formerly known as Twitter) about their casting decisions. He recalled, “They didn’t deserve to know. ‘They had screwed me, I’m gonna screw them,.'” He further explained, “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.”

Even though Bergeron expressed his frustration with the decision, he also said the majority of his 15 years on the show was indeed a positive experience. “I look at the math and 95 percent of my experience was really quite wonderful,” he said. On the other hand, when asked about whether he would ever return to the show, he clearly shared with the host, “No never.”

“Because it’s not the same show, it’s not the same world. I did it for a lot of years, there’s no point. What would I prove?”

In addition to this, Erin Andrews also spoke out on Instagram about the situation, quoting, “Thank you ABC and the entire Dancing With the Stars family for 6 memorable seasons. Those years wouldn’t have been as special without my loving host Tom Bergeron, the talented dancers, and the witty judges. I will always cherish my days on that set, even if I wasn’t the best at walking in heels.”


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Later, ABC also released a statement, along with BBC Studios. 

“Tom Bergeron will forever be part of the Dancing with the Stars family. As we embark on a new creative direction, he departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success,” the statement reads. “Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom. Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show.”

Currently, Dancing With the Stars is still on air with its thirty-second season that premieres live every Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC Network. 

If you want to catch up with the series, then we urge the readers to check out the show on ABC, Disney Plus, and later it is available to stream on Hulu every Wednesday. This season is the first to air live on both simultaneously. Moreover, Tyra Banks left the series after hosting the previous three seasons. Later, it was announced that Julianne Hough would be joining the series as co-host, with Alfonso Ribeiro assuming Banks’ previous role.

In this hit series, the celebrities are paired with trained ballroom dancers to compete in themed choreographed dance routines that are judged by a panel of renowned ballroom experts, including Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough.

In its fifth week, “Most Memorable Year,” Derek & Julianne Hough, Kym Herjavec, Anna Trebunskaya, Karina Smirnoff, Edyta Śliwińska, Tony Dovolani, Louis van Amstel, Maks Chmerkovskiy, and Mark Ballas returned alongside the current professional dancers to perform a tribute waltz to “Moon River” in honor of Len Goodman. The dance was choreographed by Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson.

For the viewers who want to stream the new season, please know that the theme of the sixth week is revealed as ‘Monster Night’ for the occasion of Halloween. The episode will air at the same time slot of 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.