The 28th season of Dancing With The Stars hasn't even stared yet and there's already a ton of drama surrounding it. First off, the show announced its cast and fans noticed that two of their beloved pros, Artem and Sharna, wouldn't be returning. Then people got frustrated when they saw that former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer would be appearing on the show.
It turns out, it wasn't just fans that were upset about Spicer's casting. One of the hosts of the show, Tom Bergeron, posted his reaction to the casting on Twitter, and it's clear that he disagrees with the decision.
A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS' new Executive Producer, I offered suggestions for Season 28. Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.
Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was mad to, as we often say in Hollywood, "go in a different direction." 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. 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.
For me, as host, I always gaze into the camera's lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two hour escape from whatever life hassles you've been wrestling with. That's a connection and a responsibility, which I take very seriously, even if I occasionally season it with dad jokes.
Hopefully, when Erin Andrews and I look into those lenses again on September 16, you'll be on the other side looking back, able to enjoy the charismatic pro dancers, the unpredictable judges and the kitschy charm that has defined DWTS since 2005.
Bergeron also spoke about his disdain for Spicer on Entertainment Weekly Live, where he called the former press secretary a "political lightning rod," and that his "preference" would have been for Spicer to not be cast.
"Dancing, at its best, is an oasis away from all the divisiveness and all the stuff we are wrestling with right now," Bergeron said. "And so, that was a call they made, and my job as host, to the best of my ability, is to be Switzerland for those two hours a week. For the other 166 hours a week, I am pretty clear where I stand politically."
Now, obviously it's not the first time a politician or something with political connections has been on Dancing With The Stars, but these are different times. The nation is so politically charged, having two hours a week without any politics involved would have been ideal.
Bergeron did find a way to joke about the casting choice, saying "the good thing is Sean will be in charge of assessing audience size." Of course Spicer was faced with immense backlash after he claimed that Trump's inauguration crowd was "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period." It wasn't.
As for Spicer, he says he plans to work "really, really, really hard every day" in order to stay in the competition. Whether this is also a lie has yet to be seen.