'The Talk' hiatus: Why CBS is investigating the show and Sharon Osbourne

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·8-min read

The Talk is temporarily silenced — with live shows for Monday and Tuesday canceled — as CBS investigates last Wednesday's show. The dramatic episode saw co-host Sharon Osbourne defend Piers Morgan's comments about Meghan Markle, leading to a heated debate about racism with co-host Sheryl Underwood.

In the aftermath, Holly Robinson Peete — one of the original The Talk co-hosts, who was let go after the first season — claimed Osbourne said she was "too ghetto" for the show and was behind her firing. Osbourne denied both claims, publicly sharing a private email Robinson Peete sent her after she was axed seemingly blaming another original co-host, Julie Chen, for her removal from the show.

Here's how this messy saga has played out so far...

March 14: It's announced that The Talk will go on a brief hiatus as part of the investigation into Wednesday's episode, canceling its live shows for Monday and Tuesday.

March 13: In an interview with Variety, Osbourne said, "I blame the network for it" Wednesday's show. "I was blindsided, totally blindsided by the whole situation." She said that in the 11 years she's been on the show, it was the first time she wasn't involved in the planning of the segment. She said showrunners asked her if she was OK being asked about Morgan and, "I said, 'Sure, they can ask me whatever.' But then I get on there, "I felt like I was in front of a firing squad. I felt like a lamb held out for slaughter." Amid the conversation, largely with Black co-hosts Underwood and Elaine Welteroth, "They had me there for 20 minutes... [I] begged [producers] to stop, to please change subjects.. I don’t know why they did it to me. The showrunners told me it came from executives to do this to me."

Osbourne also addressed Robinson Peete's allegations that she made a racist comment about her (calling her "too ghetto" for The Talk) and played a role in her 2011 firing. Osbourne took to social media and posted a private email from Robinson Peete in September 2011 in which Robinson Peete claimed former co-host Chen made a racist comment about her and was spreading lies about her. Chen is married to Les Moonves, who at the time was chairman and CEO of CBS, and Robinson Peete claimed they were blacklisting her from CBS. (Chen left The Talk in 2018 after #MeToo allegations were made against Moonves and he stepped down.)

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March 12: Osbourne used social media to issue an apology to "anyone of color that I offended" with her remarks on Wednesday's show. She said she "panicked" after being "blindsided" with the conversation.

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Morgan said she was being "bullied" into apologizing and demanded an apology from The Talk.

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Robinson Peete, who was an original co-host from 2010-11, tweeted an allegation that Osbourne was racist toward her when she was on the show — and suggested she was behind her firing. (In 2011, Osbourne told Howard Stern Robinson Peete and fellow co-host Leah Remini were let go because "Some people don't really know who they are and you have to know who you are when you're in something like this." When Stern asked why nobody told them that directly, as the women claimed at the time, Osbourne replied, "Why should we call them to discuss?")

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It is announced that CBS will be investigating Wednesday's show. In a statement, the network said, "We are committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace. All matters related to the Wednesday episode of The Talk are currently under internal review."

March 11: At the top of Thursday's show, co-host Amanda Kloots addressed the debate the day before and said, "We are a TV family here. Sometimes we argue like we did yesterday and sometimes we laugh but we are back together again today and we are ready to start today's show. So, let's get into these topics."

March 10: At the top of The Talk, Underwood said "Mrs. O" would like to discuss criticism she faced after standing with Morgan. Osbourne said Morgan was sharing his opinion and has a right to say what he feels — as everyone does with their freedom of speech.

"Did I like everything he said? Did I agree with what he said? No. Because it's his opinion. It's not my opinion. But why is it that because I defended a longtime friend ... that everybody goes: If you support him, then you must be racist because he's racist," Osbourne said on the show. "I support him for his freedom of speech.... I'm not racist — neither is Piers. I hate the fact to even be saying: I'm not racist. It's a terrible evil word to call anybody without knowledge of that. What have I ever said about anybody that is racist? It's not within me."

Underwood suggested Osbourne was giving "validation" to Morgan being dismissive of Markle's racism allegations while Elaine Welteroth tried to discuss "unconscious bias." Osbourne said some of the U.K. media coverage of Markle was "evil" and racist, "But I'm sorry. If I say, Listen, he's my friend. He's entitled to his opinion. If he thinks Meghan — whatever he says about her — I don't agree with what he says but I agree with his right to say what he feels." She went on to say, "I don't know everything [Morgan] has ever said about Meghan, but I never personally have heard him say anything about her color or race... I feel like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist so that makes me a racist?"

As the show went to commercial, something Osbourne said was censored and when they returned it was clear the conversation didn't stop during the break. Osbourne clutched a tissue and said to Underwood, "If anyone should be crying, it should be me. She demanded that Underwood, "Educate me. Tell me when you have heard him say racist things?" Underwood said it was the implication, but she didn't want it to seem they were attacking Osbourne and calling her racist.

"It's too late," Osbourne said. "The seed's already sowed."

March 9: Morgan stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain after being called out for his comments about Markle.

Osbourne, who used to appear on America's Got Talent with Morgan, defended him storming off the show, saying, “I think people forget, he’s in a position because they pay him for his opinion. He’s a royalist, and there's nothing wrong with that. The generation he was born into, we were all taught to be royalists. We were all taught at school…You fight for your Queen and your country.” She also said Morgan was just "hurt by Meghan," who Morgan has claimed was friendly with him until she started dating Prince Harry — and then she ghosted him.

When it's announced Morgan quit Good Morning Britain, Osbourne tweeted that she stood with Morgan.

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March 8: The morning after Markle's Oprah interview, Morgan said on Good Morning Britain that he didn't believe anything Markle said, including allegations of racism and that she experienced suicidal thoughts.

The topic is also discussed on The Talk. Osbourne supports the duchess in her claims of racism within the royal family. She called Archie being denied a royal title allegedly due to his skin color "deplorable" and said it's "absolute racism at its height." The U.K. native said she was "ashamed" of the way Markle and Prince Harry were treated.

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