Back in 2019, Bergeron, 68, wanted to make the ballroom dance competition a “wonderful escape” from any political conversation, so he wasn’t too pleased when Sean Spicer joined the cast for season 28.
“At the end of 2018, we knew there’d be no spring season in 2019 for the first time,” Bergeron recalled when discussing the events leading up to his DWTS departure on the Monday, October 23, episode of Cheryl Burke’s “Sex, Lies and Spray Tans” podcast.
After nearly a year off the air, Bergeron met with the DWTS showrunners to discuss a plan going forward and suggested that they shouldn’t cast anyone from “any party” ahead of the 2020 election year. “Don’t go there,” he added.
However, Bergeron went on to explain that the executives didn’t listen.
Weeks after the first meeting, Bergeron said they called him to reveal the cast, which included “the former press guy for [former President Donald] Trump” — referring to Spicer, 52.
“I said, ‘Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn’t do.’ I would have responded the same way if they had said Hilary Clinton … Don’t go there,” Bergeron said. “This is, you know, not the right time. [We should] play to our strengths, be the show that gives people a break from all this bulls–t.”
The Emmy-winning host said he was “furious” with the casting choice and even asked to “take the season off.” The showrunners offered to let Bergeron out of his contract instead.
“That’s how strongly they felt,” he added, noting that the situation “really pissed me off.”
After Bergeron’s “temper kicked in,” he wanted to “let people know that they f–king lied to me.” So, he issued a social media statement speaking out against Spicer’s casting without mentioning him by name.
“It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long-term interests of the franchise,” Bergeron wrote, in part, in a since-deleted post at the time. “We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call.”
Bergeron then knew that it was “probably my last season … because of that one betrayal.” He remembered thinking, “They screwed me, I’m gonna screw them.”
Bergeron felt a duty to let the viewers know the casting choice “was a step too far” in his opinion. “And again — had it been a Democrat, same statement,” he asserted on Monday.
He and Andrews, 45, were let go from DWTS in July 2020. Tyra Banks took over later that year and hosted the show solo for two seasons before she was joined by Alfonso Ribeiro in 2022. In March, Banks, 49, confirmed that she would not be returning for season 32. Riberio is currently hosting DWTS alongside Julianne Hough.
“I’m sure they’ll give you a different reason [as for why I was fired],” Bergeron said of the executives during Monday’s podcast episode, noting that he would “never” come back to the show.
“It’s not the same show. It’s not the same world,” he explained. “There’s no point. What would I prove? … Let the show either exist with the fresh blood that it has now or die a natural death.”