When ABC cancelled two of their iconic soap operas in 2011, they decided to replace them with a duo of lifestyle talk shows. “The Revolution”, featuring Tim Gunn and Ty Pennington, was canceled after just six months (January – July 2012). [A summer stint of “Good Afternoon America” with Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott aired at 2pmET for the next few months.]
The other talker was “The Chew”, which debuted a few months earlier, in September 2011. “What Not to Wear”’s Clinton Kelly, (at the time) the renowned Mario Batali, Food Network personalities Carla Hall and Michael Symon and Dr. Oz’s daughter, Daphne, were your original five-course daily meal. The team won the Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host Daytime Emmy in 2015.
“The Chew” spawned cook books, summertime weekend specials on ABC, and was a consistent daytime staple for bringing in big stars, cooking up great food, and serving lots of smiles.
However, the dynamic changed when Oz departed from the show last summer, and, without question, when Batali was fired in December following his sexual misconduct allegations. This meant Kelly, Hall and Symon now had to fend for themselves, and in my humble opinion, they were doing just fine. But clearly ABC didn’t agree.
Just a few weeks ago, the network announced they had canceled “The Chew”, with its last “new” episode airing this Friday, June 15th. The news came as a stunner to the co-hosts and staff, who had already pre-taped special episodes to air throughout the summer.
What will replace it? No, not another soap opera – or a different “traditional” talk show. Instead, the network is trying an afternoon hour of “Good Morning America” again (which has to be called “Good Afternoon America” since it will air at 1pmET) – as part of the show’s new “GMA All Day” marketing push.
The May 24 show turned into an emotional one – both sad and comedic – as the hosts acknowledged the viewers and, specifically, the crew. Kelly, Hall and Symon brought-out various staff members throughout the hour: on-air recommendations for their new jobs.
While cooking, the hosts also couldn’t help but make jabs at now being out of jobs. Symon said, “Carla’s still got some of her First Communion money.” Kelly had a trio of one-liners: “I’m a little distracted… by my mortgage!” “Wanna do a makeover show? Call me.” “I got a lot on my mind! I gotta call my mom. I gotta call my agent!”
And while fixing up a drink, this exchange:
Symon: “How much tequila would you normally put in?”
Kelly: “A couple glugs.”
Symon: “How about today?”
Kelly: “The Whole Thing!”
“The Chew” was a fun, easy, breezy, positive afternoon piece of TV escapism. It also was a platform for new foods, products, trends, restaurants and chefs – giving them prime exposure. I’ll definitely miss this show… because it was different from everything else on network TV – and it leaves ABC’s “The View” and CBS’ “The Talk” as the only network daytime talk shows not affiliated with a morning show.
As for “The Chew”’s replacement – honestly, do we really need another hour of news?