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Two days after Tom Bergeron revealed that he was not invited to return to host Dancing With the Stars for its upcoming 29th season, ABC announced that the TV personality’s longtime gig is being filled by Tyra Banks.
Banks’ new Dancing With the Stars post came late Tuesday night. No stranger to TV production, the supermodel and industry veteran also joins the series as executive producer.
“I’ve been a fan of DWTS since its beginning,” said Banks in a statement released time to the news. “The fun mixed with raw emotion, seeing celebrities push past their comfort zones, the sizzling dance performances … it’s always transported me to my days of turning it up 10 notches on the catwalk. Tom has set a powerful stage, and I’m excited to continue the legacy and put on my executive producer and hosting hats.”
Banks discussed her new job on during a Good Morning America appearance Wednesday morning, mentioning the significance of being the franchise’s first Black host. “I like breaking those doors down so that we don’t have anymore firsts,” she said, “but it’s nice to be first so that you can open that door and let so many other people in after you.”
Bergeron’s exit after 15 years, as well the dismissal of co-host Erin Andrews after six years, are clear bids to liven up the once vital primetime brand. Dancing With the Stars currently pulls 9.1 million viewers after 35 days of delayed viewing, half of what it once averaged. And while the series also used to air multiple cycles in a broadcast season, with episodes on two nights a week, it switched to an annual Monday-only run in 2018.
“Tom has been an integral part of the ABC family for nearly two decades, from hosting AFV to Dancing With the Stars,” said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. “We are grateful for all he and Erin have done to make Dancing a success. As we gear up for the show’s 29th season, we can’t wait to welcome Tyra Banks to our Dancing stage. Tyra is an award-winning multihyphenate whose fierce female prowess and influence across many industries have made an indelible mark. Her fresh take on America’s favorite dancing competition will surely bring more than a ‘Smize’ to fans everywhere.”
Banks’ TV credits are lengthy. She hosted and executive produced America’s Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show and also enjoyed a stint hosting America’s Got Talent. As for producing, she will work with Dancing showrunner Andrew Llinares to the the “creative refresh” planned for the 29th cycle — one that’s scheduled to air in the fall but seems just as likely to be delayed as the spread of COVID-19 slows Hollywood’s reopening plans.
“Tyra Banks is an icon whose powerful presence, trademark confidence and industry-leading achievements inspire us,” said BBC Studios’ LA Productions GM Valerie Bruce, which makes the show for ABC. “We are proud to partner with ABC to welcome her as the new host of Dancing With the Stars. This represents a landmark moment in our 28 seasons producing Dancing With the Stars as we take this iconic show in a new creative direction. We offer our sincere thanks to Tom and Erin, whom we will always consider part of the Dancing With the Stars family.”
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