Tom Bergeron Addresses His 'Dancing With The Stars' Exit: 'They Screwed Me'

The former host stepped down as the 'Dancing With the Stars' host in 2020 after 15 years.

Tom Bergeron is setting the record straight about the end of his time on Dancing With the Stars.

In the latest episode of the Sex, Lies and Spray Tans podcast with former DWTS pro Cheryl Burke, Bergeron reveals why he got "fired." 

According to Bergeron -- who hosted the show 2005 to 2020 -- he sat down with showrunners in 2019 and discussed potential contestants for the upcoming season. After agreeing that the show would be a "wonderful escape from that divisiveness" that would be the 2020 election cycle, Bergeron felt that everyone was on the same page.

That was until it was revealed to him that Donald Trump's former press secretary, Sean Spicer, would be competing for the mirror ball trophy -- a decision he calls a betrayal. 

Tom Bergeron with 'DWTS' co-host Erin Andrews. - Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

"Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn't do," he told Burke about his conversation with the unnamed showrunners at the time. "And that's exactly how I would have responded if they casted Hillary Clinton, whom I voted for. 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."

Bergeron said that after expressing his frustrations with the casting decision, the showrunners told him that they would let him out of his contract, after he suggested that he shouldn't return. 

"And that really pissed me off," he said of their response. "I was furious." 

After being aware of Spicer's casting, and then receiving personal calls and texts of people's disapproval of the decision to cast him, the 68-year-old host revealed he was compelled to write a public statement.

"So I wrote the statement that I wrote, that did not name anybody, that did not name a political party," he said. "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."

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Then when Spicer was officially announced on Good Morning America, Bergeron said that was his final straw.

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

Bergeron said that his lawyer informed him that the statement wouldn't be well-received, although it was written well. However, the former game show host said that he didn't care, as he felt he was screwed by the showrunners.

"They had screwed me. I'm gonna screw them," he said of his thought process at the time. "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."

In July 2020, Bergeron revealed on X (formally known as Twitter) that Dancing With the Stars would be going forward without him. 

Still, after 15 years on the show, Bergeron said that he enjoyed a majority of the time he spent as host, prior to that moment. 

"I look at the math and 95 percent of my experience was really quite wonderful," he said. 

Eric McCandless via Getty Images

When asked about the new lineup, which features Julianne Hough and Alfonso Ribeiro as hosts, and Derek Hough as a judge, Bergeron is enjoying their success. 

"I couldn't be happier for them," he told Burke. 

When asked if he would ever make his return, the answer is still no. 

"No never," he shared. "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?"

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