Dancing With The Stars fans were utterly blindsided by Monday evening's surprising news that ABC and series producer BBC Studios have fired Tom Bergeron, who has co-hosted the show since it launched in 2005. Erin Andrews, who ABC brought in as Bergeron's co-host in 2014, is also leaving. It is not clear who would replace either of them, but ABC hinted at a drastic change for the show's future.
One thing longtime DWTS viewers know is that ABC loves corporate synergy, as plenty of stars from the network's other reality franchise, The Bachelor, have competed for the Mirror Ball Trophy. In fact, the reigning champ is The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown. Also, the only confirmed cast member for Season 29 is former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe. If ABC wants to go all-in on a mega Bachelor/DWTS crossover, Chris Harrison could replace Bergeron, if he has the time.
Bristowe's DWTS chance comes after a long wait. She claimed she was blocked from competing on the show three years ago because Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss "didn't want people wanting fame after his show." Much has changed since then, and Harrison offered Bristowe a slot on DWTS during an episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons - Ever!.
Another option for ABC is picking a former winner. Even though he was a controversial champion, country music radio host Bobby Bones does have a fanbase outside the DWTS world, so he could be a contender. On the flip side, though, ABC could lose longtime fans who believe Bones should not have won Season 27.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who won DWTS Season 19, has already proven himself to be a skilled Bergeron replacement. He has hosted America's Funniest Home Videos ever since Bergeron left in 2015. Singer Jordan Fisher, who won Season 25, could host, proved he has the skills to host when he starred on the short-lived Dancing With The Stars: Juniors with Frankie Muniz in 2018.
ABC and BBC Studios will have to make a decision very soon, though, especially since they put DWTS on the fall 2020 schedule. It is still not clear how the show's 29th season will work during the coronavirus pandemic. ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told Deadline BBC Studios was looking to implement some of the changes they made for other DWTS editions outside the U.S. "We are bringing all of those innovations to the American broadcast. I'm really confident in their plan," she said.
Whoever replaces Bergeron will have big shoes to fill. The beloved host is known for the witty sense of humor he brought to the series, which undoubtedly helped him to earn an Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competiton Program in 2012. "Tom Bergeron will forever be part of the Dancing with the Stars family," ABC said in a statement. "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."