Host Tom Bergeron has a few thoughts on the casting of former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer on the upcoming 28th season of Dancing with the Stars. Anybody who follows Tom on Twitter knows that he’s politically liberal and not shy about expressing his opinions. He was the first person I thought about when ABC announced on GMA this morning that they added Spicer to the cast. Indeed, Tom didn’t hold back this morning when he quipped during the reveal, “Sean will be in charge of assessing audience sizes.”
Here’s what the veteran broadcaster posted on Twitter.
A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS new Executive Producer, I offered suggestions for Season 28. Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.
Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, “go in a different direction.”
It is the prerogative of the producers in partnership with a network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long-term interests of the franchise. We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call. I’ll leave it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions.
For me, as host, I always gaze into the camera’s lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two hour escape from whatever life hassles you’ve been wrestling with. That’s a connection, and a responsibility, which I take very seriously, even if I occasionally season it with dad jokes.
Hopefully when Erin Andrews and I look into those lenses again on September 16th, you’ll be on the other side looking back, able to enjoy the charismatic pro dancers, the unpredictable judges, and the kitschy charm that has defined DWTS since 2005.
Producers told Tom expressly there would be no controversial casting. But they just could not help themselves. Spicer is not the first controversial casting. Bristol Palin, the daughter of controversial 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, got pretty far on season 11 in 2010. Also, Rick Perry, former Texas governor and current Secretary of Energy in the Trump administration lasted a few weeks as a contestant back in 2016. Convicted money launderer and former Republican Majority Whip Tom Delay competed on season 9. And who could forget FOX right wing pundit Tucker Carlson on Season 3. He was voted out first. Also Carlson was less controversial in those days. But Spicer, known for outright lying at the behest of his boss, is pretty universally reviled. Even Trump fans don’t really like him much.
Also, consider that Tom has never commented negatively on DWTS casting decisions. And he’s got a point. I’ve had fans BEG me on Twitter to stay away from politics. Reality shows are many folks’ “happy place,” a way to escape from the daily grind of negative news.
The good news? Spicer admitted during the GMA reveal that he’s a terrible dancer and will have to work hard to stay in the game. Couple that with his negatives–he’ll be eliminated within the first few weeks. Or here’s an idea–allow comedian Melissa McCarthy, who hilariously spoofed him on SNL, to take his place!
As far as Twitter goes, most of the criticism faults ABC for helping to normalize and rehabilitate a liar. There were so many tweets with unprintable language. Here are a few family-friendly examples,
I will never think it’s an amusing diversion for Sean Spicer to be on Dancing with the Stars. He defended and lied about amoral, monstrous if not criminal policies and actions. Way to launder amorality, ABC. Gross.
— Mo Ryan (@moryan) August 21, 2019
Sean Spicer on #DWTS is an example of what will happen to every Trump enabler. They will all fail up. Every single one. It's shameful and people will hate reading that but that's how DC works. It's a revolving door. You'll see a rehabilitation tour of every one within 2 years.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 21, 2019
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) August 21, 2019
— Tara Dublin (@taradublinrocks) August 21, 2019
— san (@sanosbo1) August 21, 2019