Laying Off The Kardashians Doomed The Soup, According To Joel McHale

joel mchale on the soup

The Soup made Joel McHale a household name more than a decade ago, and while the show had a good run, it ended in 2015, opening up the door for McHale to sign on with Netflix for new clips show The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Although The Soup ran for over a decade, Joel McHale recently revealed he felt the end of the show coming before it happened, noting that the show was doomed after parent network E! refused to let the show make fun of The Kardashians. He said:

The next administration, the president said to my face, 'Don't make fun of the Kardashians. We don't want you to make fun of the Kardashians anymore' So I was like, oh this show is doomed because that's why the show worked, because we would make fun of ourselves. It's like when Letterman made fun of GE in the '80s. You have to bite the hand that feeds you. The network really did not like when the Kardashians first came out and then we just said Kim Kardashian was only famous for having a big ass and a sex tape.

Early on in the history of The Soup, Joel McHale and the creative worked with then E! President Ted Harbert. Joel McHale described the working environment at E! early on as edgy and creative, telling Variety that the network encouraged them to poke fun at E! and themselves quite a bit. Which meant Kardashian jokes were par for the course. He did also note that during the reign of Ted Harbert, occasionally Kris Jenner or one of the other Kardashians would get offended and The Soup would get a note, but that's as far as things went.

After Ted Harbert, there was a shuffle over at E! and things changed, per what Joel McHale has said. E! hasn't responded to the claims, yet, so we don't have the network's side of the story. Although Ted Harbert didn't leave NBC until 2016 (after The Soup was canceled), he had expanded his role at the company, and E!'s management went in a different direction before ultimately cutting the show from the lineup, according to McHale.

So, will McHale be back to Kardashian-oriented jokes on The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale? He says it is really going to depend on how "good" the clips are.

Even on The Soup, if we didn't have a good Kardashian clip, we wouldn't just do it. So I don't know. It could be a lot and it could be very little. There is more reality programming on right now than there was television in 2012. It's not a thing where I'm like, 'Finally, I get to say what I want to say about the Kardashians!'

All is well that ends well, though. Keeping up with the Kardashians is still going strong over at E!, and it no longer has to worry about what The Soup thinks. In addition, Joel McHale has moved on to seemingly greener pastures, as he has also said he likes the freedom of episode length and other perks that come with working with Netflix. The first episode of The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale is now streaming. Subsequent episodes will be released weekly. To find out what else is headed to Netflix, check out our full schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.