Chris Hardwick made a tearful comeback to his hit chat fest ‘Talking Dead’ on Sunday night. Little more than a month ago, it seemed unsure as to whether the affable host would ever return after a personal controversy placed his professional life in jeopardy. It was unclear whether or not he would be welcomed back until after AMC conducted an investigation. But their findings determined that he could be reinstated and that happened last night.
Hardwick regularly does a cold open, where he summarized what viewers can expect from the next hour, but this time, his appearance was much more personal, as he addressed this controversy and thanks fans for sticking with him. The host broke down in tears as he delivered the following monologue:
“I really just want to take a minute and I want to say that I’m so appreciative to be standing here right now, and I want to thank you, ‘The Walking Dead’ community, for all your support over these past couple months. This show is not just a job to me, this is a vital part of my life, this has been a sanctuary these last seven years we’ve been here.
“It’s been with me through good times and bad and I’m so grateful to the fans, producers and the amazing casts of both of these shows for allowing me to come here and be a part of this community every week. This is what this is, a community, and we’re on the precipice of a lot of changes on both ‘Walking Dead’ shows in the coming weeks and months, and I am so looking forward to going on that journey with you. And I’ve said the following words a million times, countless times, and I’ve never been more thankful than I am in this moment to say to you: I am Chris Hardwick and this is ‘Talking Dead.’”
In June, Hardwick’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra posted an emotional essay detailing an abusive relationship she had been in with an unnamed podcaster who rose to greater fame and success, who emotionally and sexually abused her and whose actions and attitude led to her developing several physical ailments including an eating disorder and a resulting miscarriage. Dykstra did not name her former partner or his affiliated companies, but it was quickly surmised that she was referring to Hardwick, with whom she had been involved in a three-year relationship that included some professional overlap.
AMC cancelled plans to air his chat series ‘Talking with Chris Hardwick’ and announced plans to remove him as host of ‘Talking Dead’ until their investigation was completed. NBC also announced that he was at least temporarily going to be pulled from their game show ‘The Wall’ which was not then in-production. The company that Hardwick had founded, Nerdist, scrubbed his name from their web pages. He has since been reinstated in all of these positions.
Yvette Nicole Brown, a popular and frequent guest on ‘Talking Dead’ replaced him at SDCC and hosted ‘The Walking Dead’ Season Nine preview special in his absence. She was also announced as an interim replacement for Hardwick on ‘Talking Dead’, which proved unnecessary, as he was reinstated before new episodes were needed.
There has been backlash though, as employees of both Nerdist and AMC, including a female ‘Talking Dead’ executive producer have been reported as quitting after his announced return.