ABC Explains Decision to Fire Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews From "DWTS"

Kayla Keegan
·5 mins read

From Prevention

For many Dancing With the Stars fans, learning that Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews hadn't been asked back to cohost season 29 this fall came as a huge surprise.

Tom was first to break the news, tweeting on July 13 that ABC had "just informed" him that the show would be continuing on without him. " 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?" he wrote.

Erin also graciously accepted ABC's decision. "I will always cherish my days on that set, even if I wasn't the best at walking in heels," she wrote on social media a day later.

While viewers adjusted to the initial shock, the network immediately made another big announcement: Tyra Banks would be season 29's solo host and a new executive producer on the show.

Of course, Tyra's past hosting credentials on America's Next Top Model and America's Got Talent make her an exciting pick for the gig. But still, some fans are left wondering why ABC opted to say goodbye to Tom and Erin all together.

Why did Dancing With the Stars fire Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews?

The most likely explanation? Ratings and viewership numbers. While both are expected to decrease to a certain degree as the years go on, last fall's season 28 finale saw its smallest-ever TV audience, 7.8 million, according to The Wrap. What's more, the season averaged 6.7 million viewers — by contrast, Dancing With the Stars in its most popular days used to average more than 20 million viewers, according to CinemaBlend.com.

At the time ABC made the announcement, the network claimed it was moving in a "new creative direction," which, in part, likely means that they wanted to switch things up to see if that might help revamp the show's popularity. After all, Tom had been on the show since its debut in 2005, and Erin joined six years ago. Perhaps the network is banking on a host switch-up drumming up more buzz and interest for the long-running dance show.

Plus, one can't overlook Tyra's tremendous success as the creator and host of the CW reality show America's Next Top Model. Though the show has received backlash in recent days due to a series of problematic resurfaced clips, the insane popularity of ANTM in the early and mid 2000s can't be denied. Not to mention, Tyra also scored her own talk show, which garnered two daytime Emmys. Needless to say, Tyra knows what it takes to make good television — and ABC recognizes her talent.

Of course, Tyra is very humbled by the opportunity. With Glamour, the supermodel acknowledged that she has "serious shoes to fill" when it comes to replacing Tom and Erin. Signing on with Dancing With the Stars was a big decision, and one she unfortunately received a lot of online flack for. While many fans simply expressed that they would miss Tom and Erin, some went as far as to claim ABC hired Tyra solely because of the recent Black Lives Matter protests and the fact that she is a Black woman.

"It actually hurts my feelings a bit that people think that I was hired because I’m a Black woman," she told the outlet. "[The show] reached out to me many, many months ago before any of the [racial] unrest happened. And it was something that I had to think about for a while because I knew that there’s a lot of responsibility coming in to an institution."

She went on to call Tom a "genius host," and said she wanted to make sure when accepting the job that she could "bring something new" to the show.

"It’s not my heavy-lifting executive-producing of America’s Next Top Model," she clarified. "I’m coming into something that’s already there and I’m making some tweaks."

When it comes to the skeptics, Tyra implores them to give her a chance instead of rushing to judgement.

"I hope they say, 'You know what, I’m going to stick with this.' Like, 'Wow … I was wrong about that.'"

As for Tom and Erin, we're sure they'll continue to succeed in whatever project they take on next.

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