Three weeks into Dancing With the Stars‘ newest season, the show’s creative team is standing by its controversial change in host.
During a virtual press event with reporters on Wednesday, executive producer Andrew Llinares commented on the decision to replace Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews with Tyra Banks, calling the move a necessary “evolution” for the show.
“Any show that has been on like this for many, many seasons needs to continue to evolve,” Llinares said. “It was about making the show feel fresh, feel new, maybe make it reach out to a new audience” while also “not alienating anyone who’s been watching the show for many, many years.” (Bergeron and Andrews’ exits were previously called a “new creative direction” for the competition series.)
Though Llinares didn’t offer any further explanation for Bergeron and Andrews’ firings — despite being asked whether Bergeron was let go for criticizing Sean Spicer’s casting last season — he did praise the “brilliant” format of using just one host instead of two.
“I think it’s really refreshed the pace of the show,” the EP continued. “There’s a real danger, when a show’s been on for a long time, that the audience almost gets bored of the rhythm of it. It’s changed the rhythm of the show in a really exciting way [to have Banks hosting solo]. Tyra’s doing an amazing, amazing job.”
New episodes of Dancing With the Stars air Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Thus far, NBA All-Star Charles Oakley and Tiger King personality Carole Baskin have been eliminated from Season 29.