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October 23, 2014

Tom Bergeron: A Man's Guest Spot Is His 'Castle'

by Michael Maloney, posted Apr 9th 2010 9:07PM
'Dancing With the Stars' main man Tom Bergeron is playing Bobby Mann -- a late night talk show host who gets canceled permanently on the April 12 episode of 'Castle,' which airs on ABC immediately after the 'DWTS' two-hour performance show. It's up to series star Nathan Fillion and his TV detective partner, played by Stana Katic, to find out who killed Bobby.

AOL spoke with Bergeron, who weighed in on 'Castle,' the current -- and arguably most-talked about -- cast of 'Dancing With the Stars,' and how he handles those pesky TMZ.com interviews.

Read the interview after the jump.'Dancing With the Stars' main man Tom Bergeron is playing Bobby Mann -- a late night talk show host who gets canceled permanently on the April 12 episode of 'Castle,' which airs on ABC immediately after the 'DWTS' two-hour performance show. It's up to series star Nathan Fillion and his TV detective partner, played by Stana Katic, to find out who killed Bobby.

AOL spoke with Bergeron, who weighed in on 'Castle,' the current -- and arguably most-talked about -- cast of 'Dancing With the Stars,' and how he handles those pesky TMZ.com interviews.

This 'Castle' episode is clearly inspired by the late night wars between Jay and Conan.
Yes. Even the episode title -- 'The Late Shaft' -- makes reference to that. It's a play on Bill Carter's book ['The Late Shift'], which chronicles the first mess in late night back when Johnny Carson retired. This is more from the latest dramas in late night comedy.

Your character is killed off and you had to film a corpse scene.
Yes. (Smiling) Nathan [Fillion] said it is some of my best work. If you ever find yourself playing a corpse on 'Castle,' Nathan will try to break you up. He'd crack jokes before we'd roll. In my defense, I did a little Monty Python right after the director yelled "background action" and said, "I'm not dead yet!" Turnabout is fair play.

Was it easier playing a host character since that's what you do?
Yes. I would have preferred playing something outside of that realm, but I understand why they did it the way they did. Right before we shot the talk show part of the episode, Nathan asked me if I was nervous. I said, "Come on, Nathan. I get in front of 20 million people in front of live TV. Why would I get nervous in an environment where I can do a second take?" The second that came out of my mouth I realized it sounded a little cocky -- [laughs] and then I proceeded to screw up the first few takes. There you go! I was probably masking my own nervousness. I marvel at how they turn out these episodic shows. The days are long, there are complexities. I do live TV where you're in and you're out.

You gave props to Jimmy Kimmel when you were on his show recently for the zingers he's delivered over the late night talk show wars.
I thought he was really good, just really ballsy, too, doing a whole show as Leno. Leno had him on his 10PM. show and Jimmy wouldn't let him do a fluff interview. He really wanted to engage him.

TMZ.com recently taped you coming out of the local coffee shop. It should be a primer for other celebs because you keep it all light and funny.
I won't pretend it's fun all the time because it's intrusive. It really is. All of a sudden there's a camera in your face. There's no out. If you turn into a startled [jerk] -- which people have every right to be -- it's going to get out there at your own expense.

I turn it into an improv. I know these [cameramen] on a first name basis. Although I'm about two appearances away from insisting that [TMZ host] Harvey [Levin] puts me on his payroll. I'm not going to be Pollyanna about it. I don't get it anywhere near what the kids -- our dancers -- and some of the other young stars who are out and about get. There are crews parked outside restaurants where they eat. It does make you wary. Having said that, once you accept the inevitability about it, the best thing you can do is try to have as much fun as you can -- and keep your pants zipped up.

Your book 'I'm Hosting as Fast as I Can' -- which is a great read -- is coming out in softcover on May 4. Is there any new material in it?
It's basically the same book but I wrote a new foreword for it. It doesn't prop up windows as well because it's softcover.

Kate Gosselin seems to be getting the most response this season on 'DWTS.' Why?
On that, I have to plead some ignorance. I never watched the TLC show [Jon & Kate Plus 8]. The only way I was familiar with Kate was when I'd see her in the magazines. I just know her at the rehearsals I think that she seems to be determined and pretty courageous. I certainly was aware it would be a good booking. It would get reactions from people, but I didn't bring a lot of pre-established connections to it.

Has doing 'Castle' whetted your appetite for more acting gigs?
Yes. I don't have a desire to host anything else. I'm very happy with the road that I've been on, but I'd love to do the occasional episodic guest spot. Pauley Perrette told me I'd have to come over and do an 'NCIS,' but I reminded her we're on opposite each other. I can't. I could be a covert corpse in the background, but I couldn't do a role because I have a clause in my contract that precludes my being on other networks.

You could do another 'Castle' with a backdrop at a 'Dancing With the Stars' type show where a dancer kills his or her celebrity.
I'm sure those thoughts have crossed people's minds at times. But if I do another episodic, my idea would be to do something that's not related to hosting or anything. I'd like to come at it from a completely different direction.

Maybe Marc Cherry can have you visit Wisteria Lane and romance one of the 'Desperate Housewives'?
Yes. (Laughs) I'll see if I can get that past my wife.

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