Ready for a new twist to the tango? When "Dancing With the Stars" kicks off its 18th season next week, the celebrity ballroom competition will feature a new band, a new cast, and a new partner switch. But according to host Tom Bergeron, the show's producers have a few more "fun treats up their spray-tanned sleeves."
Spent a few hours annoying the @DancingABC producers yesterday. They've got some fun treats up their spray-tanned sleeves for Season 18.— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) March 8, 2014
The Emmy-winning host talked to Yahoo TV about more changes for Season 18, including a new celeb holding area and a tweak to the voting system.
Of course, the biggest change for the new season is the addition of new co-host Erin Andrews, replacing longtime co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet. While Bergeron had nothing but praise for the Fox Sports reporter, he did acknowledge that the sudden firing, last month, of Burke-Charvet was a bit of a surprise.
"I said in a tweet when I was asked this question that I agreed with Brooke that the timing could have been better," he told Yahoo TV. "Brooke and I had drinks last night as a matter of fact, and I said in the tweet as I've said to her in person, I just thought she handled this with such poise and humor, and it's sort of a textbook way to deal with shocking news and carry on."
As for the addition of Andrews, Bergeron seemed excited about the 35-year-old's previous experience as a sports reporter: "It sure ain't gonna hurt!" he said.
"She's great at both sideline and quick interviews and such," he added. "The first few weeks especially, this show is gonna be one packed, spray-tanned sausage, let me tell you. We have all the couples. I think we have some guest musical acts, new voting to explain, so there's a lot going on. It'll be quite the adventure when we go live on Monday."
Andrews on replacing Burke-Charvet:
After revealing that last season's crowded celebrity holding area, the Glitter Pit, would be no more ("Hallelujah!" he said of the pit's demise), Bergeron hinted at what the celeb hangout will look like in the new season: "A version of the skybox will be there. I don't know if it will be the old celeb-aquarium, but it'll certainly be more like the celeb-aquarium than the Glitter Pit," he said. "These are all words I never thought I'd use in a sentence."
The popular TV host seemed particularly excited about the star-studded cast for the upcoming season, which includes "Wonder Years" sweetheart Danica McKellar, "Star Wars" icon Billy Dee Williams, and five athletes.
"Particularly to have [Olympic gold medalists] Meryl Davis and Charlie White, they've been together 17 years as partners, and this is the first time they've split up and they'll be competing against each other," Bergeron said. "A lot of interesting possibilities with this cast."
But when it comes to another big change this season — the midseason partner switch — even the show's longtime host is in the dark.
"I went into the office last week, and they were being very secretive about it, and I don't know if it's going to be for a week or two or the balance of the season," Bergeron said. "It's something we've never done before, so it' either [going to] be amazing or a train wreck. In both cases you got good TV."
The 18th season of "Dancing With the Stars" premieres on Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Bergeron hosts the Television Academy's 23rd Hall of Fame: