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Tom Bergeron explains the ‘betrayal’ that led to his ‘Dancing with the Stars’ departure

By Marianne Garvey, CNN

(CNN) — Tom Bergeron revealed that there was a certain moment he knew his “Dancing with the Stars” job had come to an end.

Bergeron hosted the series starting in 2005 and left the show in 2020. He told former “DWTS” pro Cheryl Burke on her “Sex, Lies and Spray Tans” podcast that his departure came down to politics.

In 2019, Bergeron said that he suggested to the show’s executives that they should stay away from casting any politicians to avoid the divisiveness of the time. Bergeron said they agreed, but then when they told him who was cast, he was shocked.

“This former showrunner says to me, ‘You might want to sit down for this last one.’ I said ‘Why?’ And then they told me who it was,” he said.

The producer said they had cast former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

“I said, ‘Guys, this is exactly what we said we wouldn’t do. Don’t go there. This is, you know, not the right time, play to our strengths, be the show that gives people a break from all this bulls—,” Bergeron recalled.

When Bergeron suggested he could take the season off, producers offered to let him out of his contract, leaving him “pissed off.”

“That’s how strongly they felt,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron recalled being “furious” and issued a statement on Spicer’s casting.

“So I wrote the statement that I wrote, that did not name anybody, that did not name a political party,” he said. “It merely said, ‘I was told certain things when I was asked my opinion, they agreed, and now they’ve thrown a curveball.’ I even went so far as to say it’s their right to do that. They’re the producers of the show, if that’s what they want to do they are entitled to do that. We will have to agree to disagree.”

He concluded, “So at that moment, I knew this is probably my last season, because of that one betrayal. Up until that point, there were people of character there.”

“They had screwed me. I’m gonna screw them,” he said. “But I wanted the viewers to know this was a step too far to me. This was a step too far on the cusp of an election year. And again, had it been a Democrat, same statement.”

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