BY CHRISTIE D’ZURILLA
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
“The Talk” is in its second full week of hiatus pending an investigation into what went down among Sharon Osbourne and her co-hosts after Meghan and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The daytime talk show, which was to return Tuesday, will remain on break, the Los Angeles Times has confirmed. The show was preempted Monday by NCAA March Madness basketball ran repeats Tuesday through Friday.
A couple of days after the “Oprah With Harry and Meghan” interview aired March 7, Osbourne defended friend Piers Morgan’s right to speak disparagingly about the former Meghan Markle. The BBC host — who dismissed Meghan’s claims of suicide ideation and racism within the royal family — had walked off the “Good Morning Britain” set March 9 after he was challenged by weatherman Alex Beresford and wound up quitting the show.
‘A personal thing’
In a tweet and on “The Talk,” Osbourne defended her former “America’s Got Talent” colleague, saying he was a royalist, not a racist. “I think he is hurt by Meghan, terribly,” she said. “That’s why he won’t drop it. It’s a personal thing for him.” Neither he nor she was racist, Osbourne said.
The next day, Osbourne and co-host Sheryl Underwood got into an intense exchange about the situation after Underwood asked, “What would you say to people who may feel that while you’re standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don’t agree?”
Osbourne became emotional as she spoke to her fellow panelists, saying in part, “So if I like Piers, and he’s seen as racist, then I’m racist? Is that what you’re saying?” As the show went to commercial, producers bleeped out what Underwood later said were Osbourne’s F-bombs.
Osbourne also asked Underwood to “educate” her as to what Morgan had said, specifically, that was racist.
Underwood said Morgan’s dismissal of Meghan’s allegations of suicidal ideation and racism among royal family members was in itself racist — not any specific words he used or things he said. Later, in her podcast, Underwood said, “I thought I was talking with colleagues, and I thought we were having a great conversation. It didn’t go so great, part of it.”
Osbourne posted an apology on March 11, saying, “I panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over. There are very few things that hurt my heart more than racism so to feel associated with that spun me fast!”
Morgan retweeted her statement and said his friend had been “shamed & bullied into apologising for defending me. He demanded an apology from “The Talk.”
Starting last Monday, the CBS daytime show took a two-day production break that grew to a full week. Now it apparently will include an additional week.
Meanwhile, Osbourne was accused by two former co-hosts, Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini, of using racist language in the past toward them and others on the show, including another former co-host, Julie Chen.
Osbourne told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that she felt like she was “set up” by producers and had demanded an investigation into who proposed Underwood’s question and why she was “left out to dry” on national TV. She said she wasn’t sure if she was wanted at “The Talk” and that she might not return.
“CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions,” a spokesperson for the network said in a statement to the LA Times last week. “We’re also very mindful of the important concerns expressed and discussions taking place regarding events on ‘The Talk.’ This includes a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated, and appropriate action is taken where necessary.”
Osbourne has been quiet on social media since March 13. Morgan, however, held firm to his original criticism of Meghan in a tweet Monday. “Do we still have to believe her?,” he asked, referencing a Daily Mail story alleging Meghan and Harry’s claim of a secret wedding days ahead of the official ceremony was debunked by her own marriage certificate.