Speculation has been rampant over who might replace Sharon Osbourne on The Talk since her exit from the program earlier this year after an on-air spat with Sheryl Underwood over Piers Morgan's criticism of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Oprah Winfrey interview. Well now we know who will likely replace Osbourne, as The Wrap reports this past Monday that Jerry O'Connell is nearing a deal to fill that vacated slot. O'Connell was once up for potentially replacing Wendy Williams during her health struggles, filling in for the host during her absences. But now the Stand By Me star will join the group on The Talk.
A source told The Wrap that O'Connell has been in the midst of negotiations to appear on The Talk full-time since May. The actor has frequently been a guest host on the program. He would be the first full-time male co-host in the show's history. The current panel includes Underwood, Amanda Kloots, and Elaine Welteroth. Carrie Ann Inaba is also a co-host on the program, but she has taken a leave of absence. CBS declined to comment on The Wrap's report about O'Connell potentially joining The Talk.
Osbourne's on-air drama with Underwood took place on the March 10 episode. In the episode, Osbourne defended Morgan, who criticized Harry and Markle's decision to speak out against the royal family (during their interview with Winfrey, Markle even shared that she experienced suicidal thoughts when she was a full-time working member of the family). There were some, including Underwood, who thought that Morgan's criticism was racially motivated (Markle is biracial), which led to Osbourne saying that she felt like she was "about to be put in the electric chair" for having a friend that some believe to be racist.
Osbourne later apologized for her remarks. She initially told her followers on social media that she felt "panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over." (Osbourne has since criticized The Talk for how the situation played out, calling it the "biggest set up ever" during an interview with Entertainment Tonight). The argument, and reports about some of Osbourne's other alleged conduct on The Talk, prompted CBS to launch an internal investigation. A few weeks after the events took place, Osbourne exited The Talk.
"The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon's behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace," CBS said in a statement about their investigation. "We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts. At the same time, we acknowledge the Network and Studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast as it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race."
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