Making his return. Chris Hardwick returned to host Talking Dead with tears in his eyes on Sunday, August 12, marking his first AMC appearance since being temporarily suspended.
“Hello. Normally I recap the show we’re about to talk about here, but instead I just wanted to take a minute to say that I am so appreciative to be standing here right now and I want to thank you, The Walking Dead community, for all of your support these last couple of months,” he began.
Hardwick’s ex Chloe Dykstra claimed an unnamed ex, who was assumed to be the host, of sexual assault in June. The 46-year-old denied her claims and AMC briefly suspended Hardwick from his hosting duties – they were handed over to Walking Dead mega fan and Hardwick’s close friend, Yvette Nicole Brown. After an internal investigation was concluded, AMC announced Hardwick would be returning.
“This show isn’t just a job to me, it is a vital part of my life and has been like a sanctuary these last seven years. 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,” Hardwick added in his opening. “I’ve said the following words a million times and yet I have never been more thankful than I am in this moment to say: I am Chris Hardwick, and welcome to Talking Dead.”
Although he thanked producers in his opening, they weren’t all present during Sunday’s show. One female executive producer and a “handful” of other staffers left the show following AMC’s decision to allow Hardwick’s return, The Wrap reported on Friday, August 10.
Co-Executive Producer Jen Patton and other staffers “felt they couldn’t stay after Chloe was not part of the investigation,” an insider told Deadline. AMC did not immediately respond to the staff exits.
One person that was there to support him was his stand-in, Brown, who appeared as a guest during Sunday’s episode. Hardwick took the time to give her multiple hugs and reiterate how great of a friend she had been through it all calling her a “gift on this planet.”
Talking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 11 p.m. ET.