Now that a new batch of celebrities are competing for the mirrorball trophy on Dancing With The Stars, things look very different in the ballroom this time around — and it's not just because of the coronavirus pandemic. Season 29 has been the first in the show's history without host Tom Bergeron and its first since 2014 without his co-host, Erin Andrews. The two stars were the faces of the franchise, alongside judges Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, and Carrie Ann Inaba. Since Bergeron and Andrews were pushed out, both have commented on having one less job this fall.
ABC's shocking decision to move on from Bergeron and Andrews was announced on July 13. The network said Bergeron will "forever be part" of the show's family, but it is looking to take the how in a "new creative direction" and thanked him for his work. "Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom," ABC's statement continued. "Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show."
When DWTS premiered earlier this month, it was America's Next Top Model star Tyra Banks taking the helm as host. Tonioli and Inaba both returned — Goodman pops on virtually and sporadically — and former DWTS pro Derek Hough has returned as a judge. The competitors are Monica Aldama, Carole Baskin, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Vernon Davis, Anne Heche, Skai Jackson, Justina Machado, Jeannie Mai, AJ McLean, Jesse Metcalfe, Nelly, Charles Oakley, Nev Schulman, Chrishell Stause, and Johnny Weir. While they all compete, here is a look at everything Bergeron and Andrews have said about leaving.
Tom Bergeron breaks the news
Bergeron broke the news about his departure himself on July 13. Out of the blue, he tweeted he was leaving the show. "[I was] Just informed [DWTS] will be continuing without me," the beloved 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. That said, now what am I supposed to do with all of these glitter masks?"prevnext
Erin Andrews breaks her silence
Andrews shared a statement with fans on July 14. "Thank you ABC and the entire Dancing with the Stars family for 6 memorable seasons," the Fox Sports broadcaster wrote. "Those years wouldn't have been as special without my loving host Tom Bergeron, the talented dancers, and witty judges. I will always cherish my days on that set, even if I wasn't the best at walking in heels."prevnext
Bergeron's hilarious response to Tyra Banks' hiring
Leaving DWTS provided Bergeron with more joke material for the summer. On July 15, after ABC announced Tyra Banks was going to replace him, he joked, "I guess I won't be getting back my monogrammed towels." "You got towels?" Andrews replied. Coincidentally, both Banks and Bergeron have the same initials!prevnext
Bergeron has no plans to retire
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Bergeron shared an amazing photo with the legendary Dick Van Dyke on Instagram on July 16. In the caption, he reflected on his career, and assured his fans he has no plans on retiring from television. "My 'career,' which only seems to have a logical progression when viewed in hindsight, is, to me, a story of friendships rather than shows," Bergeron wrote. "And if, in the course of making those friends, one of them happens to be someone you've idolized since childhood, you damn well better realize how blessed you are. To all of you friends I've yet to meet, thank you for your kind words this week. I'm humbled. And now, overwhelmed by your flattery, very likely impossible to live with."prevnext
The new creative direction had nothing to do with race, Bergeron said
After ABC announced Banks as the next host, some fans speculated that the network made the move to add diversity to the show. Bergeron and later Banks herself told fans this was not the case. "Hadn't planned to say any more about my departure yet but, as a supporter of the @Blklivesmatter movement, I can assure you that wasn't the reason," Bergeron told a fan on Instagram. Banks told reporters she began talks with ABC long before the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests began and pointed to her years of experience as a television host.prevnext
Bergeron is 'humbled' by the fan support
Bergeron has seen an outpouring of support from fans who have watched him host DWTS for 15 years. In August, he thanked fans for their support. "I have read them and I have been truly humbled," he tweeted on Aug. 5. "Whenever I looked into the camera's lens, regardless of which show I was hosting, I imagined a connection with a single person; not a mass audience. It appears the connection was made. You can't beat that."prevnext
Andrews was fired over the phone
In an interview with Extra, Andrews said her firing came as a complete surprise and happened over the phone. She said she remains in contact with Bergeron and the pro dancers and wished Banks the best. "I text Tom, like once a week… and the dancers as well," Andrews said. "That's a family… I danced on the show and then worked on the show for so many years, I always call it a 'Dancing with the Stars Mafia' — once you're in, it's really hard to break away. That's a tight-knit group. Sasha and I will DM. I've gotten lovely messages from the dancers and so forth."prev