Why Tom Bergeron Is Bitter About His Exit From Dancing With The Stars

Tom Bergeron is giving his experience with "Dancing With the Stars" a zero! It's been several years since Bergeron left his hosting gig on the ABC competition show, but he's still unhappy about how everything unfolded.

Bergeron, who began hosting the show in 2005, announced his departure in 2020 via X, formerly known as Twitter, per Variety. "Just informed @DancingABC will be continuing without me," the host wrote. "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 followed Bergeron's announcement with a statement of their own, suggesting they wanted to change things up on the long-running show. "Tom Bergeron will forever be part of the Dancing with the Stars family," the statement read. "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." 

"DWTS" fans were left in shock after Bergeron's sudden exit, as it seemed as though there was more to the story than just moving on. Just a year after his departure, the former host hinted on "Bob Saget's Here For You" podcast that he and those working on the dance competition show had been butting heads for a while. Bergeron revealed he wasn't surprised that his last season of the show would be it, and there seems to be a bitter reason why the host suddenly left.

DWTS betrayed Tom Bergeron's request

Ahead of the 2020 "Dancing With the Stars" season, Tom Bergeron made one simple request that the show ignored. The former host revealed on Cheryl Burke's podcast "Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans," that because the United States would have a crucial election year in 2020, he told executives not to have any dancers who were affiliated with any political party.

Well, the show did not listen. "This former showrunner says to me, 'You might want to sit down for this last one.' I said 'Why?' And then they told me who it was," Bergeron said. Although Bergeron never explicitly said Sean Spicer's name, he did say it was "the former press guy [for then President Donald Trump]." Spicer was the press secretary during Donald Trump's controversial presidency in 2017 and didn't last very long in the position, at 182 days, per CNN

Bergeron shared on the podcast that he encouraged production and showrunners to reconsider their decision to bring Spicer on as a dancer. He told them, "This is, you know, not the right time, play to our strengths, be the show that gives people a break from all this bulls***." 

Despite his plea, the show moved forward, and Bergeron felt so strongly about his views that he suggested he take a leave for the year. But when he did, "DWTS" executives gave him another option to release him from his contract. There was no compromise between the host and the show.

Tom Bergeron fired back

Tom Bergeron didn't go out without a fight when "Dancing With the Stars" heads decided to bring Sean Spicer on as a celebrity dancer.

In 2019, when the show announced the cast for the upcoming 2020 season, Bergeron released his own statement regarding the contestants and one in particular, per People. "My hope [was] that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably decisive booking from ANY political affiliations," he said.

Although he never mentioned Spicer by name, it didn't take long for fans to notice the host was talking about the former press secretary. Although Bergeron was upset, he did say it was up to the show to decide who is cast, but he won't be the one to answer questions about controversial "celebrities."

In 2023, Bergeron discussed the statement while on Cheryl Burke's podcast "Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans." He revealed he shared it without letting anyone from "DWTS" know, and he knew this would probably be the end of his hosting gig. He explained, "So at that moment, I knew this is probably my last season, because of that one betrayal. Up until that point, there were people of character there." 

For Bergeron, it didn't matter whether this would have repercussions because he felt strongly that the show shouldn't have brought on any politician in a year of a controversial election, regardless of their political party.