Tom Bergeron, longtime host of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” had hoped the hit show’s upcoming 28th season would be an apolitical corner of television for news-weary viewers.
Things did not go his way.
On Wednesday, the network announced that its contestant lineup would include Sean Spicer, who spent six months in 2017 occasionally screaming at reporters as President Donald Trump’s press secretary. Among Spicer’s most notable gaffes was his insistence that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons ― which later necessitated an apology.
Amid the ensuing social media backlash to ABC’s casting choice, Bergeron shared his disappointment with the decision, but also his acceptance of it.
“It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long term interests of the franchise,” he said over Twitter.
“We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call. I’ll leave it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions,” Bergeron said.
“Dancing with the Stars” had taken a yearlong hiatus following a controversial Season 27 finale that saw a not-so-popular dancer take home the ultimate prize. The network has never stated exactly why it put the show on hold.
In his post, Bergeron explained that he’d offered suggestions for Season 28 the show’s executive producer over lunch “a few months ago.”
“Chief among them,” the host explained, was that the show “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations.”
He continued: “I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement. Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.’”
Spicer will join model Christie Brinkley; Hannah Brown of “The Bachelorette”; actors James Van Der Beek, Kate Flannery and Kel Mitchell; former NBA player Lamar Odom; singers Ally Brooke, Lauren Alaina and Mary Wilson; and Karamo Brown of Netflix’s “Queer Eye.”
It returns to ABC on Monday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. ET.