Tom Bergeron says ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Sean Spicer casting made him feel ‘screwed’ over
On DWTS pro Cheryl Burke’s podcast, Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans, Bergeron revealed how his disagreement with show executives over a controversial casting choice of hilariously inept former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer led to him feeling “screwed”, so he decided to screw them over in return.
Going into the 2020 election year, Bergeron wanted to stay lear of politics to retain DWTS‘ air of escapist pleasure. “I said, ‘Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn’t do. Don’t go there. This is, you know, not the right time, play to our strengths, be the show that gives people a break from all this bulls—,'” Bergeron recalled. But he says a producer and the showrunner at the time had a different idea. A very bad, different idea.
The showrunner and producer were determined to bring Spicer on and so, seeking a compromise, Bergeron suggested he “take the season off.” The execs then countered with their offer to let him out of his contract.
“That’s how strongly they felt,” Bergeron said, adding that it “really pissed me off.”
Feeling “furious,” Bergeron did what any red-blooded human would do and (consulted his lawyers then) took to social media. Hours after Spicer and the rest of the cast were announced for season 28, Bergeron issued a lengthy, shady statement — without naming Spicer directly — blasting the hit show’s execs for steering it away from being a “joyful respite from our exhausting political climate” free of “inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations.”
Bergeron admits that the ABC execs didn’t know he was going to release his statement because, well… “they didn’t deserve to know.”
“They had screwed me. I’m gonna screw them,” Bergeron 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.”
Bergeron said he received countless complaints after DWTS announced Spicer’s involvement, which signaled the beginning of the end for him.
“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.” True to his word, Bergeron announced his departure from Dancing With the Stars in July 2020.
The popular competition series has since shuffled through different hosts and host pairings with Tyra Banks taking the reigns in the 29th season. In the 31st season, she was joined by Alfonso Ribeiro, who became the main host when Banks departed prior to the 32nd season. And after that game of musical chairs, Ribeiro and Julianne Hough are the current DWTS hosts.
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