Now that Jerry O’Connell has been firmly entrenched as an official co-host of “The Talk,” only one matter still needs to be addressed before the daytime series launches its 12th season next month, the show’s first without any original co-hosts: When will Carrie Ann Inaba return to the CBS Television Studios? Turns out she might not, and if she doesn’t the show already has plans to replace her with another male co-host.
According to Page Six, while the show has not announced it officially, Inaba isn’t returning and they have been quietly testing out male comedians and pro athletes to take her place. Recent guest hosts have included actor/model Terrence J and former American football wide receiver Victor Cruz.
In late April, Inaba announced that she had “decided to take a leave of absence from ‘The Talk’ to focus on my health and well being. I appreciate the support from you and my family at ‘The Talk’ and hope to be back soon!”
Just before the show’s return to originals after the Sharon Osbourne debacle, Inaba was reportedly not too thrilled about having to take part in discussions of “race” and “healing” considering she wasn’t part of the episode that led to the show’s lengthy hiatus from originals and the eventual ouster of Osbourne.
“After the incident, they brought in a diversity and inclusion agency to help repair the situation, and Carrie Ann openly griped that she was being punished for things while she was out,” a source told Page Six. “She returned to a new environment, and she also didn’t like that the show is starting to tackle more serious issues.”
While congratulating the show on receiving a 12th season order a few months back, seemingly a vote of confidence from the network for the ratings deprived talk show, Inaba remained mum on when she’d return to the show while teasing her return for the 30th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” which premieres Monday, September 20. In a post on Instagram in mid-July, she wrote, “I’ll be there! Will you? Who’s ready for our 30th season?” Page Six notes her post about her return to the ABC series didn’t sit too well with executives at “The Talk.”
At this point, it looks like the show is leaving Inaba’s possible return at a 50/50 chance. “Everyone wants her back. No decisions have been made,” a source told the pub.
Reps for Inaba did not provide a comment to Page Six when requested.
“The Talk” is co-hosted by Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots, Elaine Welteroth, and the aforementioned Jerry O’Connell with Inaba’s status unknown. The show concluded its 11th season last week.