Dancing With the Stars fans were shocked to hear longtime host Tom Bergeron would not be returning to the series for Season 29, which premiered on Monday. His co-host, Erin Andrews, was also not asked back. The show later announced that Tyra Banks would be the new host of the dancing competition. In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Banks explained how she understands that she has "serious shoes to fill" in taking over Bergeron's role as the DWTS host.
Banks told the publication that she has an enormous amount of respect for Bergeron and what he's done on DWTS over the past fifteen years. While she knows that fans may miss the former hosts of the program, she's determined to bring a new, exciting perspective to the series as she takes on hosting duties for Season 29. "I have serious shoes to fill," Banks said about Bergeron. "I have respect for him. And when the network called me, I sat on it for a very long time, because I knew what Tom had done. The host is the ringmaster. And I thought, 'Can I bring something fresh and exciting?' I called my mama, and she said, 'You need to do this.' So I'm going to bring what I bring!"
While Banks will also serve as an executive producer, will bring a fresh dose of excitement to DWTS, she noted that she does not want to reinvent the wheel completely. "Dancing with the Stars is one of the biggest shows on TV, with a huge audience, and I really respect that," she added. "I can't come in with a battering ram and try to change everything. That would be a bad business decision and dumb leadership. So I'm not doing that."
DWTS viewers can also rest assured that Banks listened to what fans had to say about the upcoming season of the show, as she said that she wants to make sure that she still respects the show that they have come to love. She added, "I listened to research, I listened to the fans, I killed half of my ideas and then I doubled down on some of them. We want to implement those ideas but still respect the show — and add a little pixie dust!"
It was initially announced Banks would take over for Bergeron and Andrews back in July. At the time, the show shared that this was part of a new "creative direction" that the series is going in. On Monday night, fans finally got to see Banks in action as the new DWTS host. She served as an expert emcee of the program as celebrities such as Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause, former professional football player Vernon Davis, and actor Jesse Metcalfe strutted their stuff in the ballroom.