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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Tom Bergeron Was the Heart of 'Dancing With the Stars'

Over the years, Dancing with the Stars has made changes — from cutting the orchestra to getting rid of the results shows. Budget cuts often come into play, but these decisions rarely make the show stronger or better.

With Season 29 hoping to make an appearance sometime this fall during a surging COVID-19 pandemic, ABC decided to make cuts that will probably hurt the show most of all — saying goodbye to 15-year host Tom Bergeron. The network is also cutting Erin Andrews from the series.

With 11 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Host For A Reality or Reality-Competition Program and one win in 2012, Bergeron is one of the best live television hosts working today. His fast quips with contestants at the judges' table made those moments memorable and even when a contestant needed a shoulder to cry on, America's dance dad was there.

Bergeron was the heart of the show, the one who ushered in this bizarre spectacle of sequins back in 2005. He stood there in his sport coat and tie and told us to sit back and watch a bunch of celebrities ballroom dance. We tuned in for a train wreck that first season and left realizing a pop-culture phenomenon had begun.

There were hard days like in Season 28 when Kimberly Van Der Beek miscarried the baby that the DWTS family celebrated only weeks before. Bergeron shared the hard news as James Van Der Beek bravely took to the dance floor and we wept from the sidelines.

The news even became more personal in 2013 when the Boston Marathon bombing hit a little too close to home for Bergeron, who grew up in Massachusetts. He told Extra, "It was the hardest show I've ever done," while breaking into tears and hugging former pro Tony Dovolani. Yet it was Bergeron, who led us through the tragedy and let the joy of dance carry our emotions.

It's hard to think of what DWTS will look like without Bergeron at the helm. The show lost its fiery sparkle and luster years ago, but viewers always came back to check in with their dance dad. He was a source of comfort and a feeling of home. With a year filled with constant angst and upheaval, it's hard to believe ABC wants us to dance again without Bergeron leading us through this tough time.

Thank you for 15 magical years, Tom. You will be missed more than you know.


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