Talk about having a fabulous fall TV season! Tom Bergeron won the Emmy for Best Reality Host for “Dancing with the Stars” and is now presiding over the show’s first-ever “All-Stars” season, as well as marking a 500-episode milestone on his other show: “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” He’s even been kissed on-camera by “DWTS All-Star” Kirstie Alley!
Bergeron took time out from his busy schedule for this exclusive xfinityTV interview, revealing his thoughts so far on the “All-Stars,” his pal Paula Abdul’s guest judge gig on next week’s “DWTS,” and the big “AFHV” milestone.
Is the “All-Stars” season of “DWTS” all you expected so far?
Bergeron: Yeah. It’s such a treat. The caliber of the performances has been even better than I would have predicted. I was telling Kelly Monaco — who, frankly, I was a little concerned about because she had done the first season seven years ago — the show has gotten so much bigger in terms of production value, but she completely aced it this week. She did a great dance with Val [Chmerkovskiy] in the paso doble so I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how the muscle memory of some of our earlier champions has really held up.
How hard is it for you to see these stars get eliminated — because you know them all so well from past seasons?
Bergeron: It is true. This past Tuesday, when both Drew and Helio were eliminated, two former champions, Drew [Lachey] in particular is a good buddy of mine [and] I was really thrilled to see him agree to come back. We all went out [to dinner] after they got done taping [Jimmy] Kimmel. My wife and Drew’s wife and a whole group of people and we were all feeling the worse for wear yesterday, actually.
Do you think the stars teamed with new partners have a disadvantage? Because it seems those are the ones that are falling the fastest.
Bergeron: That’s a really good point but then again, Kym [Johnson] and Joey [Fatone] were gone last week. So in the three weeks we’ve been on, we only have two partners with their former partners, that being Mark and Bristol and Cheryl and Emmitt, so we’ll see in this next week where that percentage tips. But I would think it would be an advantage if you had your former partner, but then I’m seeing some amazing stuff from people who have new partners. I go back to Kelly and Val or Derek [Hough] and Shawn [Johnson] as a couple of examples. Peta [Murgatroyd] and Gilles [Marini] are doing some really great things. They all are. I think it speaks more to the skill set and the competitiveness, and maybe the old chemistry can be an advantage, but it hasn’t seemed to be a disadvantage to be with somebody new.
What did you think when you saw Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas’ rehearsal argument footage the other night?
Bergeron: Knowing Mark as I do, how professional he is, I kind of felt a little bad for him because I haven’t seen anything other than him being totally committed to and professional about his role on the show. That said, I’m not privy to all that they go through in rehearsals. But you know I also felt bad for Bristol that she would feel that he’d rather be somewhere else. But when it came to the dancing, they did a fine job.
What do you think of Paula Abdul being a “DWTS” guest judge next week?
Bergeron: I’m thrilled. She used to be my hallway neighbor when she was on [American] Idol. We had dressing rooms across the hall from each other and she’s already said publicly she’s going to give me a hard time, so I can’t wait!
Congratulations on marking the 500-episode milestone on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” [Note: It airs November 11]
Bergeron: Thank you. The annuity, as we call it at my house. It will be sort of [a tribute to] the slapstick that has built the franchise over the years and, according to the producers’ math, which is always highly suspect, we’re going to have our millionth groin hit in the midst of that show. I think [the show appeals to people so much] because it’s just funny. It’s not like an episodic show where you have to be there at the start and follow a storyline. It’s sort of like a comedy buffet. You can pop in anywhere and pretty much be guaranteed a good laugh or a smile and the staff has been really inventive about reinventing the show and repackaging clips to keep the show perking right along.
How many of those have you actually hosted? [Note: Bob Saget was the first "AFHV" host]
Bergeron: I don’t know the exact number, but I started back in 2001 I think, when my hair was brown.