Tom Bergeron: Why I’m Leaving ‘Funniest Home Videos’

How long will he remain on 'Dancing With The Stars'?


Tom Bergeron
Tom Bergeron
is stepping down from AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS to pursue…acting?

“I could be the next DEXTER,” he says (joking, I presume).  “I would like to do something that unnerves me a bit.”

Bergeron, 59, announced in May that he would give up the hosting gig he has held for since 2001.

“It’s going to be bittersweet,” he tells me.

“It’s my call for it to be my last season, but I really want to have fun with it.   The first thing we have to do is celebrate that it is the 25th anniversary of the show.  That is the main story.  Then as a side text we can have fun with the fact that it is my last.”

Bergeron told me more — including how long he plans to remain on DANCING WITH THE STARS — when we caught up in Beverly Hills last week.

What went in to the decision to step down?
It just felt like the right time.  It is going to be my 15th year and I love the idea of making it my call — not somebody else’s — and doing it for the 25th anniversary.  I thought it would be a nice time to… I am a fan of DOCTOR WHO.  And they revitalize the show from time to time by recasting the lead.  And I thought this is a perfect time, almost from a dramatic standpoint or a storyline standpoint.

Who will replace you?
I don’t know.  That will be part of the interesting thing.  I am sure I will have input.  I won’t have the final call, obviously, because it is not my baby.  But I want to make it part of what do on the show.  Some of the auditions will be comedic, like The Muppets.  Others will be legitimate, like people who are auditioning through videos they are sending to the show right now.

Could it be an unknown?
It could be. The show is the videos.  I use a really old reference to talk about how I approached it.  I said it was like [Dean] Martin and [Jerry] Lewis.  I was like a tone deaf Dean Martin setting up the videos, which are Jerry Lewis.  That to me is how I have always embraced the show.

What do you think of the corny jokes they write for you?
My sense of humor is more on display during DANCING WITH THE STARS.

Speaking of DANCING, what are your thoughts on Erin Andrews?
I just thought Erin really did a great job.  Ray Chew did a great job with his band.  The cast obviously.  Ultimately it all boils down to the cast.  They have to be personalities and stories that you feel connected to.

Some people would argue that the fourth judge is too many…
Sometimes it worked.  Other times it didn’t.

How long will you stick with that show?
I will stick with that show until they drag me out.  I will be there until the end.  I say that, but my contract is up at the end of season 20.  So if it goes beyond season 20, obviously we will have discussions.  But I have great affection for it and it is still as enjoyable to me as day one.

Isn’t there a next chapter you would like to get on to in your life?
Yes, there is.  And that is part of the reason I am leaving AFV.  Really it is not about hosting anything else.  It is about making myself a little less comfortable than I am. I want to be nervous again.   I want to do something I am not completely convinced I can do well.

Do you still meditate?
I have been meditating for over 30 years.  It is really about being present — here and now and not letting the clutter in your mind take you in other directions.  And on live TV that is a very helpful thing.

You have seen so many people get kicked in the nuts by now.  Does that still make you laugh?
We’ve talked about this.  By the end of the season, the nut hits get less funny, but the kid videos and the animal videos, I love them still.

Do you catch yourself watching the early shows from when you first started?
No.  I never watch.  I don’t like watching myself.  I have only watched one episode of DANCING WITH THE STARS and that was the first one.  VIDEOS, I have watched a few over the years, but I am not one for watching myself.

AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS returns October 5 on FOX.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly