Why So Many Co-Hosts Have Left The Talk

The following article includes allegations of sexual assault.

Launched on CBS in September of 2010, The Talk presented a new vision for a daytime talk show, albeit one that closely resembled ABC daytime hit The View. Behind that vision was a seemingly unlikely creator: Sara Gilbert, an actor best known for playing middle child Darlene Conner on 1990s sitcom hit Roseanne. In addition to serving as the show's executive producer, Gilbert was also one of the show's co-hosts, alongside Sharon Osbourne, Julie Chen, Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete. And while Gilbert's background was in acting, not daytime talk, her creation proved to be a hit with viewers.

In the years that passed since The Talk first made its television debut, the show's roster of on-air personalities has continually changed. As co-hosts left, new ones were brought in, resulting in an ever-evolving combination of talent that has kept the show fresh and lively in the decade-plus that The Talk has been on the air.

As for why those co-hosts exited the show, well, reasons have run the gamut, from scandals and controversies to the desire to pursue new opportunities. For more insight, keep on reading to find out why so many co-hosts have left The Talk

A lack of airtime led to Marissa Jaret Winokur's departure

Marissa Jaret Winokur came to fame when she landed the lead role of teenage Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, the Broadway musical based on John Waters' 1988 film of the same name. In 2010, she was tapped for The Talk, the new daytime talk show that CBS launched that fall. Unlike her co-stars, however, Winokur's role wasn't in the studio, but out in public to film "Mom on the Street" segments in which she interacted with real people to hear their opinions. "I like to say it this way: 'I walk The Talk," she said in an interview with Parade

By the following January, however, Winokur announced she was leaving. "I will not be returning to The Talk this year," she told People. As Winokur explained, "as the show evolved, there really wasn't room for my segments."

Executive producer Brad Bessey confirmed her exit to People. "This is a mutual decision based on time, not talent," read Bessey's statement. According to the producer, The Talk had begun "trending toward more time with panel conversations and interviews, creating fewer opportunities for the mom-on-the-street segments."

Holly Robinson Peete confirmed she was 'officially' fired

When The Talk returned for a second season, not all of the original in-studio co-hosts had been invited back. One of these was actor Holly Robinson Peete, who revealed in a statement she posted on her website (via The Hollywood Reporter) that following "weeks in limbo, I was finally 'officially' given word from CBS today that I have not been picked up for the second season of The Talk."

Prior to her statement, THR reported she was "likely to depart," while Page Six alleged her exit had been engineered by co-host Julie Chen, who was married to then-CBS CEO Les Moonves. "My husband can fire your a**es any day," Chen told her co-hosts, or so claimed Page Six's source, who dismissed The Talk as "the Les Moonves show starring his annoying wife." 

While Robinson Peete didn't confirm Page Six's report, she didn't exactly shoot it down when she told THR that "when you have somebody who's in a power position and who can make decisions, there's not a lot of recourse, there's not a lot of discussion. And so because of that, they can pretty much do what they want."

Leah Remini claimed Sharon Osbourne had her fired

When Holly Robinson Peete was shown the door after the first season of The Talk, so was Leah Remini. In a since-deleted tweet (reported at the time by E! News), Remini claimed that Sharon Osbourne was responsible for both she and Holly Robinson Peete being axed. "Sharon thought me and Holly were 'ghetto'... we were not funny, awkward and didn't know ourselves," Remini tweeted. "She has the power that was given to her."

Osbourne, however, begged to differ. "Leah knows that I have never been in the position to hire or fire anyone on the show," Mrs. O tweeted in response. "That being said, my only wish is that Leah would just stop all this negative, unprofessional, and childish behavior," she added.

Despite Osbourne's denials that she had any hand in her co-hosts' dismissal, Remini was not backing down. According to E! News, in another tweet (which, like the others, she also subsequently deleted), Remini claimed that Osbourne was only seeking "publicity out of this," adding, "If someone wants me to stop, they should call a lawyer and tell them what I am NOT telling the truth about. We can go from there."

Aisha Tyler left because she had other ambitions

After the departure of Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini, two new co-hosts were brought in as replacements: comedian and radio host Sheryl Underwood and actor/comedian Aisha Tyler. Both Underwood and Tyler proved to fit well with the show — which is why fans were surprised by the 2017 announcement that the latter would be exiting The Talk

As People reported, Tyler made the announcement on the air, revealing she was simply too busy, and "realized I had to let something go." As she told her co-hosts, leaving The Talk after six seasons had "been the hardest decision of my life because you guys are my family and I love being with you every day, you know that..."

Later that year, Tyler sat down for an interview with veteran broadcaster Larry King, who bluntly asked, "So why'd you leave The Talk?" According to Tyler, the real reason she left was to pursue her ambitions to be a director. "I just had to decide where I want my life to go and what I had to give up to get there," she explained. "And sadly, the rigors of making a daytime show day in and day out for 11 months a year, it was too much."

Julie Chen resigned due to her husband's scandal

Ronan Farrow's 2017 New Yorker exposé on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein brought down one of Hollywood's most feared figures and kicked off the #MeToo movement. The following year, Farrow wrote a similar piece focusing on Les Moonves, who was chairman of CBS at the time, and arguably one of the most powerful men in the television industry. Moonves also happens to be married to The Talk's Julie Chen, which resulted in an excruciatingly awkward situation for Chen and her co-hosts.

When Farrow identified numerous women who'd gone public with allegations of Moonves' sexual misconduct, Moonves was forced to step down from his role at CBS. However, Moonves maintained his innocence, and blasted the "untrue allegations from decades ago" that he claimed were "not consistent with who I am." In a statement to The New Yorker, he insisted all those "appalling accusations in this article are untrue."

In the wake of the sexual assault allegations against her husband, Chen resigned. "I have been at The Talk since the day it started nine years ago," she said in a prerecorded message that aired on the show, stating she had "decided to leave" in order "to spend more time at home with my husband and our young son."

Sara Gilbert exited in order to balance her life

As Variety noted, Sara Gilbert created The Talk and served as one of the original co-hosts when the show launched in 2010. She held that position for nine years until revealing in a 2019 episode that she was leaving the show, USA Today reported. 

As Gilbert explained, she was simply burned out. A big part of that had to do with her other job, reprising her Roseanne role as Darlene Conner for the 2018 reboot — and continuing on after Roseanne Barr's well-publicized firing, with the show cancelled and then revived as The Conners. Given that Gilbert was also an executive producer on both The Conners and The Talk, she simply felt that one of them had to go. 

"This is something that I have been struggling with for a while, and going back and forth, but I've decided that it's time for me to leave the show at the end of this season," Gilbert told the audience, adding that the decision "was extremely difficult." Working simultaneously on both shows, she admitted, had left her feeling "totally empowered, but also, if I'm being honest about it, my life was slightly out of balance."

Marie Osmond quit after rumors of drama with the cast surfaced

Sara Gilbert's exit from The Talk led producers to tap singer Marie Osmond as her replacement. Osmond first found fame at age 14 when her 1972 country hit "Paper Roses" catapulted to No. 1 on Billboard's country music chart. She found even further fame after teaming up with brother Donny for their hit TV variety show Donny & Marie.

Before long, rumors of behind-the-scenes friction between Osmond and co-host Sharon Osbourne began circulating. In September 2019, RadarOnline quoted a source who claimed Osbourne balked at "Marie trying to hog the spotlight!" Those rumors may not have been entirely unfounded; the following September, Deadline reported Osmond was parting ways with the show after just one season. As Osmond explained in an Instagram post, she was moving on from The Talk so she could spend more time with her family.

However, a report in Page Six claimed that Osmond's decision to leave was not hers, "although she was encouraged to spin her departure that way," said an anonymous source. According to that source, Osbourne and fellow co-host Sheryl Underwood "threatened to quit unless Marie was canned. They pushed her to quit but when she didn't, they made an ultimatum to the network."

The pandemic led to Eve's exit from the show

Following Aisha Tyler's departure, rapper/actor Eve joined The Talk in 2017. At the time, a CBS exec gushed to Deadline about the "fun and fresh perspective" she'd be bringing "to our already diverse panel." Eve proved to be such an excellent fit for the show that fans were shocked and saddened when, when, in fall of 2020, she announced she was leaving.

There was no drama surrounding the "Who's That Girl" rapper's exit, merely logistics. Throughout much of 2020, the pandemic led to Eve and her co-hosts appearing remotely from their respective homes. When the time came for the women to return to the studio, this wasn't feasible for Eve, who was living in London. Traveling back and forth between the U.K. and the U.S. simply wasn't an option. 

"I've been so grateful that I'm able to stay here in London and do the show," she told The Talk viewers. "But I can't see, for me, the foreseeable future of traveling back at the moment." Leaving the show, she added, was "one of the hardest decisions in the world." And then, she added a bit of levity to the bittersweet moment: "I wish I hated one of you, but I don't ... It would just make it so much easier."

Sharon Osbourne left after defending Piers Morgan

Sharon Osbourne exited The Talk in March 2021, oddly because of Oprah Winfrey's ratings-grabbing interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It all began with remarks Piers Morgan made about the Duchess of Sussex on his U.K. show Good Morning Britain, leading him to clash with a co-host and storm off his own show; he eventually quit

Osbourne tweeted that she stood by Morgan; in a subsequent edition of The Talk, co-host Sheryl Underwood confronted Osbourne on the air, explaining that her public support of Morgan was actually "giving safe haven to something he has uttered that is racist." The conversation turned testy, and as CBS said in a statement to Deadline, "an internal review" was underway.

Speaking with Variety after the fact, Osbourne complained she'd been "blindsided," and felt "so hurt, caught off guard... I felt like a lamb held out for slaughter." According to a CBS statement to The New York Times, the network's review concluded that "Sharon's behaviour... did not align with our values for a respectful workplace," and found no evidence to support Osbourne's claims she'd been "blindsided." CBS also announced that she "has decided to leave The Talk."

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.