The Real Reason ‘The Talk’ Is In Trouble

Elaine Welteroth, Carrie Ann Inaba, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots, The Talk
Pictured: Elaine Welteroth, Carrie Ann Inaba, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood and Amanda Kloots ("The Talk")
Randee St. Nicholas/CBS

CBS’ “The Talk” is currently undergoing a production hiatus following an explosive confrontation between co-hosts Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood at the start of the Wednesday, March 10 broadcast. Days later, the network announced that the show would be taking a few days off as it conducted an internal review of the matters leading up to and following the heated exchange. Since then, CBS has extended the show’s hiatus through at least Tuesday, March 23. Despite the on-air and behind-the-scenes drama, and Osbourne’s stating in a recent “Entertainment Tonight” interview that she expects to be fired as she becomes the “sacrificial lamb” and that she was “set up” by producers, it looks the whole thing might just be the boost the show needs to get it out of the ratings basement it currently resides.

As reported in January, “The Talk” remains broadcast television’s least-watched daytime series. Ranked 13th across all categories, the daily talker is down a whopping 27% season-to-date in Total Viewers (1.505 million vs 2.057 million), down 24% in Women 18-34 Viewers (42,000 vs 55,000), down 24% in Women 18-49 Viewers (158,000 vs 209,000) and down 20% in Women 25-54 Viewers (242,000 vs 304,000). In fact, the show is also down a massive 28% in Women 50+ Viewers (932,000 vs 1.286 million) and down 27% in Men 18+ Viewers (374,000 vs 514,000). By contrast, “The View” is up 14% season-to-date in Total Viewers (2.992 million vs 2.624 million) and up 2% in Women 25-54 (395,000 vs 387,000).

Ratings have been trickling up ever so slightly since Elaine Welteroth and Amanda Kloots were added to the panel earlier this year (week of January 4). However, despite their additions ratings for the show are still down when compared to the show’s performance last season with co-hosts Eve and Marie Osmond.

Note: It should be noted that during the week of February 8, when the show attracted one of its highest viewership numbers this season, it was due to the Monday airing only. The rest of the week’s worth of shows were preempted by CBS’ airing of the Impeachment of President Donald Trump. The show returned to originals on Monday, February 15.

Below is a breakdown of the show’s ratings performance week-to-week since the season began on September 21, 2020. The numbers include delayed viewership through the week of February 15, 2021*, the most recent week in which delayed numbers were made available to Soap Opera Network.

Week ofTotal Viewers
(in millions)
Women 18-34
Viewers
(in thousands)
Women 18-49
Viewers
(in thousands)
Women 25-54
Viewers
(in thousands)
09/21/20201,46743148218
09/28/20201,56339165256
10/05/20201,64444157237
10/12/20201,44951157237
10/19/20201,54642149237
10/26/20201,52637156253
11/02/20201,53937170257
11/09/20201,56343146238
11/16/20201,43332148243
11/23/20201,45138159252
11/30/20201,45545149221
12/07/20201,43249164244
12/14/20201,48851150237
01/04/20211,45735154237
01/11/20211,51645182267
01/18/20211,52643172258
01/25/20211,55245162249
02/01/20211,55239144225
02/08/20211,66951206285
02/15/20211,54047183254
02/22/20211,416*36*145*235*
03/01/20211,446*35*147*225*
Season-to-Date1,50542158242
Source: Nielsen – Live+SD is 09/21/2020-03/05/2021; MC (aka: Live+7) is 9/21/2020-2/19/2021

Should CBS continue with its plan to resume production on “The Talk” next week, and Osbourne remains with the show, time will tell if the controversy surrounding her comments resonates with viewers, particularly if the issue is brought up again. Oppositely, if Osbourne does exit and the show continues on without her, time will tell whether the show gains viewers or loses even more without her. Only time will tell.

You can watch Osbourne’s full interview with “Entertainment Tonight” where she discusses “The Talk,” her future with the show, or possible exit, below.