It looks like ABC was pretty eager to get started on that “new creative direction” for Dancing With The Stars, as just a little over a day after Tom Bergeron announced that the show would be continuing on without him (his phrasing subtly hinted that it may not have been his idea to leave), the network has announced his replacement. In a press release, ABC revealed that Tyra Banks will be stepping in to replace Bergeron—and his co-host Erin Andrews, whose departure seems almost like an afterthought—for the show’s 29th season. We don’t know when that season will premiere, though, since reality competitions are one of the many things up in the air right now due to the coronavirus. (Along with... everything else.)
In a statement, Banks says she’s been a fan of Dancing With The Stars from the beginning, highlighting the “fun mixed with raw emotion,” the celebrities being pushed “past their comfort zones,” and the “sizzling dance performances,” and she says she’s “excited to continue the legacy” that Bergeron established. The press release in general seems to go out of its way to acknowledge Bergeron and underline how important he continues to be to the DWTS brand, but the fact that the show was so quick to announce his replacement does seem to support the theory that this wasn’t entirely his choice. Either way, it’s Banks’ show now, as she’ll also be joining on as an executive producer. That gives her a larger stake in the future of the show beyond her hosting duties.
Now let’s wait and see what happens if the other producers ever decide to bring on a contestant who Banks doesn’t approve of, like when the producers ignored Bergeron’s request to avoid controversial political figures by casting Sean Spicer last season.