Tom Bergeron doesn't miss hosting Dancing with the Stars but he does miss one thing

2024 Critics Choice Real TV Awards - Arrivals
2024 Critics Choice Real TV Awards - Arrivals / JC Olivera/GettyImages

Former Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron was honored on Saturday, June 15 at the Critics Choice Real TV Awards with the inaugural Sam Rubin Award, named after the late KTLA morning show host and designed to honor those who use their celebrity platform to help others.

While attending the ceremony, Bergeron spoke to E! News about his 15 year run as the host on the dancing competition. Deadline reports he quipped that he missed "the paycheck" most but then went on to say, "There are some people I miss. But I’m really happy not hosting.”

There's good reason for Bergeron's distance from the show. He exited Dancing with the Stars back in 2020 over a casting dispute. When he was told Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary during the Trump administration, was going to be a part of season 28, Bergeron made his position clear on the matter. He was against it as the move was politically divisive and in an early conversation, he and the powers that be had agreed that the show should be an escape from the political minefield America was in.

Bergeron expressed that he could take the season off and, in response, he was told that he could be let out of his contract. This led to the TV personality being public about his disagreement with the casting when previously he'd been keeping the conversation in-house. He shared the following with Cheryl Burke on her podcast Sex, Lies and Spray Tans in October 2023 (per Deadline):

"Thy had screwed me. I’m gonna screw them. 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."

Don't expect Bergeron to hit the ballroom anytime soon. He's certain he'll never be back to host. Stating, "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?”

Dancing with the Stars certainly isn't the same series. Granted, that's to be expected since it's heading into its thirty-third season this fall but it's also a different animal. There are lighthearted stories, aspirational dance journeys, wonderful performances by the pro dancers, dance troupe, and celebrity contestants alike but there are definitely more audience plays. Casting choices meant to drum up viewership and, whether this is true or not, a feeling that voter preference isn't as factored into the elimination decisions as they'd like us to believe.

There's also the fact that Bergeron doesn't watch the series. When he was the host, he had a front row seat to the magic on the dancefloor but he "never watched it as a TV show," so he didn't start once he left. Nonetheless, he's an integral part of the competition's history and it was fitting that he was presented with the Sam Rubin Award by Alfonso Ribeiro, who hosts America's Funniest Home Videos and Dancing with the Stars, and is a fitting successor for Bergeron on both programs.

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