Tom Bergeron Admits He Never Thought ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Would Last 15 Years

The longtime host of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition thought 'DWTS' would be a quick summertime show when it debuted on June 1, 2005.

Eric McCandless / ABC

The longtime host of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition thought 'DWTS' would be a quick summertime show when it debuted on June 1, 2005.

Tom Bergeron says he thought Dancing with the Stars would be a “fun” summertime show that would occasionally pop up on ABC’s schedule. Fifteen years and 29 seasons later, the longtime TV host is in awe of the success of the celebrity dancing competition that debuted on June 1, 2005, on ABC.

On the 15th anniversary of the premiere of DWTS, Bergeron admitted he never thought the TV dancing show would have such longevity.

“I thought, ‘Well, it might be a fun summer show.’ Might, you know, show up a few weeks every summer,” Bergeron told Yahoo Entertainment. “But no expectation that we’d be talking about it 15 years down the road.”

Bergeron added that while he initially thought of Dancing with the Stars as a quick summertime series, he quickly saw its potential to become a phenomenon.

“This is a self-aware, kind of kitschy but exciting at the same time, competition of people coming out of their comfort zones,” the ABC host said.

The first season of the show only had six contestants and aired for just six episodes in the summer of 2005, ending on July 6. General Hospital star Kelly Monaco won the first mirrorball trophy, beating out actor John O’Hurley, boxing legend Evander Holyfield, supermodel Rachel Hunter, New Kids on the Block alum Joey McIntyre, and Bachelorette star Trista Sutter for the title.

Dancing with the Stars would go on to be a Monday night staple on ABC, with two seasons airing per year and with some seasons even taking up real estate on ABC’s Tuesday night schedule via a results show.

Bergeron previously said he was happy to be “wrong” about Dancing with the Stars, per The Washington Post.

Fifteen years after Bergeron had initial reservations about Dancing with the Stars, ABC has announced that the show has been renewed for its 29th season. But for the first fall season since 2006, the return date for DWTS is unclear.

Last month, Bergeron told Extra (via YouTube) that the “hope” is that the show will return this fall if coronavirus restrictions are lifted in order for production to resume.

“It’s hard to imagine right now a scenario where 700 people in an audience and 24 sweaty dancers can all be in the same room. We’ll see if some sort of variation of that is concocted.”

As recently as late last week, Bergeron told fans he still doesn’t know the status of DWTS. In comments to his latest Instagram post, Bergeron revealed that the plan for the show’s return is “still being discussed.”

When a fan asked if Dancing with the Stars was coming back this fall, Bergeron replied, “ABC has renewed the show for a Season 29 but when (& how) still being discussed as far as I know (which, admittedly, is not much).”