Tom Bergeron, reality TV host, signing copies of “I’m Hosting As Fast As I Can”
* 4/28/09 7:30 PM at Barnes & Noble – Grove Drive. Los Angeles, CA.
Thomas “Tom” Bergeron (born May 6, 1955) is an American television personality and game show host, best known to the public as the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos (2001–present) and Hollywood Squares (1998–2004). He is also the host for the ABC reality series Dancing with the Stars (2005–present), and a fill-in host for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He is a Daytime Emmy winner. He was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Bergeron’s first job in broadcasting was as a disc jockey at local radio station WHAV, in his home town. He was an extremely popular radio DJ in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire in the early 1980s on Portsmouth’s WHEB, where he played comedy records along with music and offbeat interviews. His professional voice and warm personality landed him additional TV and radio auditions.
One of his first jobs on television was as host of a local game show, Granite State Challenge, on New Hampshire Public Television (produced at NHPTV flagship station WENH-TV). He moved to the Boston market in February 1982, joining WBZ-TV as a general on-air personality. His early roles at the station included being a contributor on Evening Magazine, hosting brief informational and show preview segments known as 4 Today, every 30 minutes during WBZ’s daytime lineup, and landing the hosting spot on Lottery Live, the nightly drawings of the Massachusetts State Lottery games.
By the early 1990s Bergeron was seen as a solid figure in Boston television, and WBZ continued to capitalize on his talents by featuring him on WBZ Radio. It was there he had an early-morning radio show called The Tom Bergeron Show. When People Are Talking ended a successful 13-year run in June 1993, Bergeron remained on WBZ-TV as commentator and lifestyle reporter for the station’s expanded hour-long noon newscast.
In June 1994, Bergeron left WBZ when he was hired by the new FX cable network to co-host a morning talk show for them, called Breakfast Time. Hosting with Laurie Hibberd, the show became quite successful on the upstart cable network, prompting the Fox Broadcasting Company to pick it up two years later. At the time, the cable system in his hometown of Haverhill didn’t carry FX, leading to a long-running and ultimately failed public campaign to get them to pick up the channel or at the very least to locally syndicate the program. In September 1996 it became Fox After Breakfast, since it aired later in the morning than the other network’s morning programs. This show ran for one year on Fox; eventually it became The Vicki Lawrence Show after a number of cast changes. Bergeron later was signed to a contract with ABC News as guest host to Good Morning America. After Charles Gibson left the show, Bergeron was seriously considered as a permanent replacement, but that job went to Kevin Newman.
Beginning in 1998, one of his best-known jobs was the host of Hollywood Squares. He was nominated for 5 Emmys and in 2000, he won his first and only Emmy. After Squares ended its six-year-run in 2004, he continued hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos, which he started hosting in 2001. In later years, Bergeron appeared twice on Star Trek: Enterprise as an alien trader named D’Marr and as a Coridan Ambassador. He also appeared in an episode of The Nanny in 1998. In 2005, he began hosting the ABC reality series Dancing with the Stars, for ABC, with ex-reporter Lisa Canning before Samantha Harris. The show proved to be a hit, airing in over 90 countries. His sharp sense of humour and good banter with the judges of Dancing with the Stars have helped to make him a big star again, as well as his banter with the cast members.