NBC executives told Variety the decision was made to give Little Big Shots a "brand refresh" with the Bridesmaids star. Harvey's last season aired in July 2018, and the show will not be back until next winter. It will air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET after the NFL football season is over.
"Melissa's just an incredible performer and incredible comedian," Paul Telegdy, NBC co-chairman of entertainment, told Variety. "She will bring a completely fresh perspective to it."
Harvey being dropped from the NBC series comes after his syndicated daytime talk show Steve filmed its last episode on Thursday.
NBC and Harvey did not leave on the best terms. The rift started in 2017, when he decided to make a new deal that shifted ownership of his talk show from NBCUniversal and Endemol Shine North America to IMG Original Content and himself, even as the show was still distributed by NBCU. According to Variety, Harvey was scheduled to get a big pay raise to host Little Big Shots Season 4.
The issue with Harvey was not mentioned when Telegdy spoke with reporters Sunday before the peacock network's upfront presentation to advertisers at Radio City Music Hall. Instead, he said McCarthy would bring her own brand of comedy to the show.
"Melissa is a strong creative force with her own ideas," he said. "Changes will be apparent."
This will mark a return to television for McCarthy, who shot to fame and won an Emmy for her role on CBS' Mike & Molly, which ran from 2010 to 2016. Her most recent TV role was in Nobodies, a short-lived TV Land series in which she played herself.
McCarthy earned Oscar nominations for her performances in Bridesmaids and Can You Ever Forgive Me?. Her next film is Andrea Berloff's The Kitchen, which stars Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish, and opens on Aug. 9. She is also making another movie directed by husband Ben Falcone, Superintelligence, which opens on Dec. 20.
As for how NBCUniversal will replace Harvey in its daytime line-up, the studio has a new show up its sleeve starring The Voice coach Kelly Clarkson. The Kelly Clarkson Show is expected to debut on Sept. 9.
"We are very excited to have Kelly Clarkson on our air next fall," Valari Staab, president of NBC Universal Owned Television Stations said in a statement. "She's genuine, warm, fun and interacts with her fans in a meaningful way. Throughout her career people of all ages and backgrounds have related to her openness, honesty and curiosity. She will be the perfect companion to Ellen, providing an afternoon of great television."
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