Dancing With the Stars host Erin Andrews had expected to be preparing for another season of the show right about now. That’s not what’s happening, though, after both she and co-host Tom Bergeron were replaced with Tyra Banks for the upcoming season.
“It was a surprise,” Andrews told Extra. “I got a phone call and I answered the phone. I was like, ‘This isn’t good.’”
Andrews, who competed on the ABC show as a contestant in 2010 and began hosting it in 2014, said she’s kept in touch with her contacts there.
“I text Tom, like once a week… and the dancers as well. That’s a family,” Andrews said. “I always call it a ‘Dancing With the Stars Mafia’ — once you’re in, it’s really hard to break away. That’s a tight-knit group. [Dancer] Sasha [Farber] and I will DM. I’ve gotten lovely messages from the dancers and so forth.”
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba was upset, too. “We’re just a bonded family and I love them both so much,” Inaba said when she appeared on The Talk the week of the announcement.
She had only good things to say about Banks. “She can nail the smizing and the walking in gowns and heels, so good for her,” Andrews said of the former America’s Next Top Model creator and host. Banks also will serve as an executive producer on the ABC reality show.
For his part, Bergeron, who had hosted Dancing With the Stars since it debuted in 2005, has said on social media that working on the reality competition has been “the most unexpected gift” of his career. He’s changed his Twitter bio to “former co-host of Footwork With the Famous.”
The new season of the show, featuring contestants Carole Baskin (Tiger King), Chrishell Stause (Selling Sunset) and rapper Nelly, premieres Sept. 14 on ABC.