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Chris Hardwick was a talk show mainstay for AMC for a long time thanks to his gig as host of Talking Dead. As the post-episode discussion show for The Walking Dead, Talking Dead was a hit, and Hardwick seemingly cemented his place on the network. Then, back in June, Hardwick was accused of sexual abuse, and AMC swiftly dropped him from hosting duties, which included removing his new Talking with Chris Hardwick from its lineup. Now, following an investigation, Hardwick is returning to AMC for Talking Dead and more. Here's what we know.
More than a month after AMC dropped Chris Hardwick on June 17, the network has come out and said that the investigation into the talk show host cleared him of the allegations of abuse from ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. The official statement from AMC (via TVLine) says this:
Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of Talking Dead and Talking with Chris Hardwick. We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step.
AMC recruited the help of outside firm Loeb & Loeb for the investigation, and the investigation evidently didn't turn up any evidence that would have warranted Chris Hardwick getting the permanent boot from the network, which may come as quite a surprise to many. The network wasted no time in announcing that Hardwick was being taken off Talking Dead and his show removed from the lineup when the allegations first broke, and other professionals in showbiz have lost their jobs over the last year for accusations of sexual misconduct. According to the statement, the results of the investigation didn't lead the network to believe firing Hardwick was necessary.
Another sign that seemed to point toward AMC moving in another direction came with the announcement of his replacement. Talking Dead fan favorite Yvette Nicole Brown was first announced as Chris Hardwick's replacement as moderator for the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead panels at San Diego Comic-Con, and news broke the next week that she would take over hosting duties for the next episode of Talking Dead (following Fear the Walking Dead's midseason premiere) and The Walking Dead Season 9 preview special.
Nicole Yvette Brown went on the record to state that she didn't intend to replace her friend at his AMC gigs in the long run, but it seemed like AMC was potentially experimenting with other folks in the slots formerly held by Chris Hardwick. Now, Hardwick is slated to return as host of Talking Dead after Fear the Walking Dead's midseason premiere despite earlier reports that Yvette Nicole Brown would lead the discussion. She is still attached to the preview special as host, and she will have a presence on Talking Dead as a guest.
Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick returns on Sunday, August 12. For some other viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.