Supermodel Tyra Banks has taken on quite a different role as the new host and co-executive producer of “Dancing with The Stars,” with the new season premiering Monday, Sept. 14. That’s roughly two months after news came in late July that Banks would serve in the dual role. That exciting news for Banks was dampened a bit by some who came out to say Banks was hired because of her color and gender, instead of being brought on for her talent or huge brand.
Tom Bergeron, who’s hosted the show for its 28 seasons, announced his departure on Twitter July 13. Erin Andrews, who co-hosted with him since season 18, announced soon after that she also wouldn’t be returning to the show.
“It actually hurts my feelings a bit that people think that I was hired because I’m a Black woman,” Banks told Glamour in an interview released on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
“[The show] reached out to me many, many months ago before any of the [racial] unrest happened, and it was something that I had to think about for a while because I knew that there’s a lot of responsibility coming into an institution,” she added. “Tom Bergeron is a genius host, a comedic host. I had to make sure that I could bring something new, [while] respecting what he’s already done. And that could I really bring my audience to the show.”
The model, actress, and businesswoman then explained that ABC asked her to executive produce “Dancing with the Stars” on top of her hosting responsibilities, which made her take the job.
Bergeron wrote in his tweet that the show was “continuing” without him, which left many viewers upset. People are also bothered that Banks was hired, with some claiming that the hiring of a Black woman was one way to diversify an older, conservative-leaning audience. Of that claim, Bergeron has come out recently to say “I can assure you that wasn’t the reason.”
“I’m sorry, but your change of hosts was the absolute wrong decision,” one person wrote on Tuesday, Sept. 8. “This started as a good show – you have now made it political and no fun any longer. I will miss the judges. But I won’t be watching.”
“I honestly cannot believe @Tom_Bergeron and @ErinAndrews were let go,” wrote another Twitter user. “Just makes absolutely no sense to me. They did a fantastic job. Tyra Banks? AGT didn’t even want her back.”
After Banks’ “Dancing with The Stars” gig was announced, it was revealed that she and her company Bankable Productions signed with ABC Signature to produce scripted programming and with ABC Entertainment to create unscripted content.
Banks told Glamour that she recognizes that whatever programming she creates, it has to be dramatically different from what’s currently on television. She added that her team has been working tirelessly.
“My team is an all-female crew and we sit around the table and we beat an idea over and over and over again [until it’s ready to present],” she explained. “We will do seven decks on one show idea because I’m like, ‘We need to add an idea, we need to twist it, flip it, make it louder, make it flashier.’ ”
The new season of the “Dancing with The Stars” begins Monday, Sept. 14.