“Dancing with the Stars” fans got a special treat during Tuesday’s finale. Not only were Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy announced as the new mirror ball winners, but also Alfonso Ribeiro was also revealed to be the new host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
Ribeiro is familiar to “DWTS” fans as the Season 19 winner, but he’s most known for his time on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” He played the nerdy, uptight Carlton opposite Will Smith on the sitcom. He also has some hosting credits with gigs on the Game Show Network’s “Catch 21” and ABC Family’s “Spell-Mageddon."
The actor will replace Tom Bergeron, who hosted the show for 15 years. Bergeron said his goodbyes on Sunday night’s episode where his final scene showed him driving off in a golf cart with former “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host Bob Saget. Bergeron will continue to host “Dancing with the Stars.”
Ribeiro, 43, won’t change too much from Bergeron’s style. He knows that the current format is very successful. “It won’t be very different,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s really about assisting the videos [and] not trying to overpower the videos with your comedy. But I have a different energy than Tom does and I’m very animated and energetic, and some of that will absolutely come through. I’m sure it will be dance-related in some form…. For me to able to come in and replace Tom, who’s my idol in the hosting world, will be a challenge but one that I feel excited to be a part of.”
Bergeron was apparently rooting for Ribeiro to get the gig. “[‘DWTS’ producers] suggested to producers of 'AFV' to take a look at me, and they also mentioned it to Tom, who said, ‘Oh my God, that is just a beautiful idea. I’m on board,’” the new host revealed to the Hollywood Reporter. “It just felt like a great marriage. When I was there to do my test, Tom was there and he was very, very supportive. He let the people there know that he thinks I would be the right one for it."
According to executive producer Vin Di Bona, the “DWTS” champion was the best possible choice. “There’s got to be a sincerity and a connection with the audience,” Di Bona explained to Variety. “You’ve got to be someone who cares about kids. That connection you make with the audience is of the utmost importance to me. That’s something you just don’t get by reading copy. In our auditions, it just became very, very apparent that Alfonso is a genuinely nice man.”
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Season 26 of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” will begin filming in August. New episodes will air on ABC this fall.