“Thursday on @GMA, special announcement about @officialdwts. Hope it’s a new host! @Tom_Bergeron, will you be in NYC??????” a social media user asked the former America’s Funniest Home Videos host, 67, on Tuesday, June 12. Bergeron quickly shut down the speculation with a simple reply: “Nope. Sorry.”
Two days after Bergeron denied returning to the long-running dance competition, Ribeiro, 50, announced that he would be teaming up with Banks, 48, to helm season 31. “Dancing with the Stars has been such an important part of my life for so many years, and I am ecstatic to officially re-join this tight-knit family as cohost,” the season 19 winner and former guest host said in a press release on Thursday, July 14. “Tyra and I have a longstanding friendship that I hope will resonate with all of the fans at home as we kick off this new season on Disney+.
Banks, who took over as host in 2020 ahead of season 29, gushed about her new cohost in a statement of her own. “I’ve known Alfonso since I was 19 years old and he always puts a smile on my face whenever I see him,” the former America’s Next Top Model personality said at the time. “Having such a fun-loving, longtime friend as cohost warms my heart. Bantering back and forth with him live is going to be so much fun!”
In July 2020, Bergeron — who began hosting DWTS in 2005 — announced via Twitter that he and cohost Erin Andrews had been ousted from the reality TV series. “Just informed @DancingABC will be continuing without me,” he wrote at the time, shortly before Banks was named the new host. “It’s been an incredible 15 year run and the most unexpected gift of my career. I’m grateful for that and for the lifelong friendships made. That said, now what am I supposed to do with all of these glitter masks?”
In the wake of the Hollywood Squares alum’s controversial departure, Ribeiro exclusively told Us Weekly that he couldn’t imagine the show going on with anyone other than Bergeron. “I’ve texted back and forth with Tom. I would’ve never made that decision, obviously. I think Tom and Erin are the backbone of the show,” the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum said in July 2020. “I have no idea where they’re going to go and what changes they want to make and why and how these decisions were made. But I think people like myself will absolutely miss Tom and Erin. It’ll be hard for me to see the show in whatever new form it is.”
He continued: “Sometimes I look at things and I say, ‘Why don’t we just make a new show?’… We love Tom, and Tom to me is the best host on television. … I’m hoping that [Tyra] does a great job. But it’s hard. It’s going to be hard for me to watch it without Tom in there.”
At the time, the Silver Spoons alum also joked that he didn’t want to “do all of [Bergeron’s] gigs after stepping in as host of America’s Funniest Home Videos in 2015. “And at the end of the day, the AFV [exit] was not a firing. It was him leaving, and that’s what made it possible for me to go,” Ribiero told Us. “I never want to take someone’s job like that. Yes. That has nothing to do [with] whoever you’re hiring, of course, but because I’m so close to him, it just wouldn’t have felt right to do if they approached me.”
Despite all of the drama surrounding his departure, Bergeron has made it clear that he doesn’t hold a grudge against his former DWTS family — or the show’s fans. “When people say, ‘I’m not gonna watch until you’re back,’ I say, ‘Well, there’s really no ‘until’ here,’” he told TV Guide in December 2020. “This train has left the station. I appreciate the sentiment, and I don’t hold it against anybody if they [watch].”