TVGuide.com: What is Tom Bergeron up to just days before the premiere of a new season of Dancing with the Stars?
Tom Bergeron: Getting a dining-room set delivered. I live a glamorous showbiz life.
TVGuide.com: Any tweaks or twists for the new season? Or are we not messing with the show that reaps ridiculously high ratings?
Bergeron: Well, there is that. I mean, the core of it we're not messing with. But we're going 10 weeks instead of eight....
TVGuide.com: I believe that's known as "milking it."
Bergeron: You're exactly right it goes back to that revenue stream you were alluding to. But we're also adding a balcony, to fit some more people in. Because really, ever since Lincoln, balconies have had a bad name. We're looking to turn that around.
TVGuide.com: DWTS will be the show that restores the balcony's reputation!
Bergeron: But no stovepipe hats are allowed, unfortunately.
TVGuide.com: Did Season 2's ratings translate into a pay raise for you?
Bergeron: I'm doing OK. I just bought a dining-room set, so life is good. I'm putting those TV trays away!
TVGuide.com: Do you have any early favorites among this round's contestants? [A complete list of the celeb hoofers can be found here.]
Bergeron: It's too early. Yesterday I looked at all of the training tapes, where they are at this point, and Jerry Springer was asking his partner if she knew CPR. That's usually not a good sign. [Laughs] Tucker Carlson, it's hard to say he could be the Kenny Mayne of Season 3, or he could surprise us. But there are some very good dancers, as well, some very impressive teams coming up.
TVGuide.com: Who do you think is primed for a Kelly Monaco-esque wardrobe malfunction?
Bergeron: There are several possibilities. Any of the women I'd be happy to see have a wardrobe malfunction.
TVGuide.com: At this point, do you have any say in which stars do the show?
Bergeron: No. No. But that's fine.
TVGuide.com: Is there anyone DWTS has repeatedly gone after, but who keeps saying no?
Bergeron: In all honesty, at this point the show is almost a vehicle for just popping these people into a different level in their careers. I look back at the days of Hollywood Squares and sometimes, particularly when Whoopi [Goldberg] was there, you'd get somebody who was considered an A-lister, but they simply couldn't play the game. Similarly with this show, you could get somebody who looks good on paper in TV Guide, but the moment you get them out there, they're a disaster. When they cast this thing, a lot of thought is given to the chemistry of the people, the various demos you're trying to hit, trying to get people from music and film and sports.... It's not unlike trying to fill those nine boxes on Hollywood Squares.
TVGuide.com: Funny/sad story: I must have walked past Stacy Keibler a half dozen times at TV Guide's Emmy After Party, but couldn't for the life of me place where I knew her from. To be fair, in a dark, crowded nightclub, you can't see her telltale 42-inch legs.
Bergeron: [Laughs] Stacy is a case in point of somebody who, outside of the world of wrestling, people pretty much didn't know. Now she's got a much higher Q [rating].
TVGuide.com: Who would you like to see on DWTS?
Bergeron: When I won the Emmy for Hollywood Squares, I thanked Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks and the Pope. I said, "I don't know any of these people, but I would like to book them." I'll hold with that. Any of those three I'd like to see do a fox-trot.
TVGuide.com: That'd get the show an extra ratings bump, eh, having Julia Roberts on?
Bergeron: Or the Pope. How many times do you see him cutting a rug?
TVGuide.com: He could even do it on water, perhaps.
Bergeron: And Hanks could come in and go all Da Vinci Code on us.
TVGuide.com: Will we see you dancing again this season?
Bergeron: No. I did it for a reason last time I wanted to emotionally and physically experience what the stars experience, to have a sense of what they put themselves through.
TVGuide.com: For the men, I'm guessing that was groin pulls.
Bergeron: And sheer terror at times. But to keep trotting out there and dancing at this point, it's more like, "Look at me! I can make the producers let me dance." There's no real point.
TVGuide.com: What's this strange little "with special thanks" credit you got for that racy documentary, The Aristocrats? You weren't in it....
Bergeron: I wasn't. Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza shot a lot of The Aristocrats at Hollywood Squares, and I was just one of several people who made their shoot go better. It's surprising how something that simple can get you a credit on a documentary. As I said to Penn, I wasn't familiar with the history of the joke, so they taped a version of me doing it. My version was so tame that you might see it on Lifetime.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, you once worked as a mime. What bold innovations did you bring to that art?
Bergeron: Marcel Marceau, of course, was famous for, among other things, walking against the wind. I was able, through much more training, to walk against a Category 3 wind. Marceau, in his prime, was only able to walk against a Category 2.
Additional reporting by Angel Cohn
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