“Dancing with the Stars” viewers were blindsided back in July when it was revealed that longtime host Tom Bergeron and his co-host Erin Andrews would not be returning for Season 29. Now, Bergeron has implied he has no plans to ever return to the ABC dance competition show.
In an interview for TV Guide magazine this week, the veteran broadcaster, 65, touched on his current life away from the spotlight, along with a revelation that may upset his loyal fan base.
“When people say, ‘I’m not gonna watch until you’re back,’ I say, ‘Well, there’s really no ‘until’ here. This train has left the station,” Bergeron told the outlet. It is not clear if there were ever any discussions between him and ABC for a potential return.
He added that while he can “appreciate” fans’ interest in the possibility, he doesn’t “hold it against anyone” for still tuning in.
Bergeron was questioned about his 15-year run at the ABC show and, when asked about what moments stand out the most to him, he said it was all about the friendships he formed with “people who were on camera and behind the camera.” He revealed he used to throw “midseason parties for cast and staff.”
“It helped create a sense of solidarity…and then we’d try to sober up the next day,” he added.
Although his exit appeared to be as much of a surprise to him as it was for his fans, Bergeron said he’s been “very fortunate” for his career accomplishments thus far.
“I’ve been on two network shows for the better part of 15 year each, so life’s been good,” the former “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host said.
As far as what’s in store for his hosting future, Bergeron admitted, “There’s no real fire in my gut to do it again. Having said that, I’m always open to surprises.”
He also joked that if he were to ever write a sequel to his 2009 memoir, he’d call it, “I’m Relaxing as Slow as I Can!”
Bergeron announced in July that he was abruptly departing the ABC show after serving as the host since its premiere in 2005. At the time, he tweeted: “Just informed @DancingABC 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.”
ABC said in a statement: “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.”
However, neither statement made it clear how the decision was reached. A representative for the comedian later told Fox News in a statement that the decision was ultimately the network’s call.
“ABC opted not to pick up Tom’s option. In the fine tradition of Hollywood cliches, they’re ‘Going in a different direction,’” the statement read.
Shortly after, Tyra Banks was tapped as his and Andrews’ replacement, much to the dismay of fans.
Season 29 with Banks at the helm — she was also its executive producer — wrapped last month, with dancing pro Artem Chigvintsev and his “Bachelorette” alum Kaitlyn Bristowe taking home the mirrorball trophy. It was a bit of a turbulent start for newcomer Banks, who early on suffered an elimination error that was later determined to be the control room’s fault.
Banks herself noted that it was a “challenge” to replace the pair.
Speaking to Us Weekly before the Season 29 premiere, she said: “I mean, you know, Tom Bergeron and Erin, they lead the show, this is one of the top-rated shows in the world. So [I’m] respecting the stage that they have set and then adding my icing to that. I feel confident about that, but of course, it’s a challenge, but I don’t back away from challenges.”
And at home, Bergeron made it known he was keeping tabs. He made a few “Dancing with the Stars” digs leading up to Season 29, such as joking about Banks’ promotional poster, as well as updating his Twitter bio to read, “Former Co-Host of ‘Footwork with the Famous.'”