DWTS EP Says Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews Were Replaced Because the Show Needed to 'Evolve'
Executive producer Andrew Llinares says he believes new host Tyra Banks has "brought a new life to everything"
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday during Day 2 of ABC's virtual fall press day, executive producer Andrew Llinares said the ABC series changeup is "all about evolution."
"Any show like this that has been on for many, many seasons needs to continue to evolve," he said, per Entertainment Tonight. "So I think changing that host is all about evolution."
He added, "It was all about making the show feel fresh, making it feel new and make it reach out to a new audience — as well as the audience that's been there for years."
Tyra Banks took over hosting duties of the hit dancing competition series for its 29th season, which premiered last month.
In July, ABC announced that Bergeron, 65, who had hosted the show since its premiere in 2005, and Andrews, 42, who joined in 2014, would not be returning for season 29.
"Tom Bergeron will forever be part of the Dancing with the Stars family. As we embark on a new creative direction, he departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success," ABC said in a statement to PEOPLE at the time.
"Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom," the statement continued. "Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show."
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Later in the virtual press conference, Llinares spoke more on the series' changes and reiterated that it's about keeping the show "relevant."
"When a show's been on for this many seasons, it's very easy to stay in a place where it doesn't feel like there's anything wrong but does the show feel fresh, exciting and new?" he said.
"It's really tough ... We've always been successful on all those shows where we continue to evolve and continue to move things on. That's something we've been doing right across the board with this show," Llinares continued. "We wanted to make the show feel relevant, but still hold on to the heart of the show."
Llinares also noted that he believes switching from having two hosts to one has been "working brilliantly" for the show.
"I think it's really refreshed the pace of the show. It's taken it to a new place, in terms of moving fast and feeling different," he said, adding, "I think that there's a real danger when a show has been on for a long time that the audience almost gets bored of the rhythm of it. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with it, just that it gets a little boring."
Llinares continues, "I think it's changed the rhythm of the show in a really exciting way. I think Tyra is doing an amazing, amazing job. It's been wonderful having her energy in the ballroom and her expertise as a host in the ballroom. She's brought a new life to everything."
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Then, speaking on whether new judge Derek Hough's time on the DWTS judging panel this season is a sign that longtime judge Len Goodman may be planning to part ways with the series, Llinares said that is not the case.
"We'd been speaking to Derek for months about potentially coming on the show and the plan was for it to be the four of them: Len, Bruno [Tonioli], Carrie Ann [Inaba] and Derek," he explained.
"That was our plan and of course, because of the situation this year, that couldn't happen," the EP added, referring to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"We miss Len. We wish he was here. We love that we found a way that we can at least have a sprinkle of Len across the season," Llinares said. "Who knows what will happen next year but we love Len. He definitely is a part of the family of this show and I'm so pleased he's a part of it right now."
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.