CBS’ “The Talk” co-host Julie Chen skipped the season nine premiere of her show on Monday while her colleagues hinted at the show’s demise as her husband, former CBS CEO Les Moonves, stepped down on Sunday amid sexual misconduct accusations
“The Talk” opened on Monday with news of Moonves stepping aside, and co-host Sharon Osbourne quickly pointed out that Chen was “taking off time to be with her family.”
Osbourne called it a “bittersweet day” and said it was “embarrassing and upsetting” to talk about her colleague’s husband, but said the conversation is necessary.
“I personally knew Les Moonves in a superficial way. It was ‘hello, how are you,’ nothing more. I know nothing about the man other than that he’s Julie’s husband… the most powerful man in TV,” Osbourne said before saying she now realizes Moonves clearly “has a problem.”
Osbourne admitted that she was asked to make a statement supporting Moonves when allegations first surfaced, and she complied.
“Now, after seven more women have come out, the stories are so similar. The pattern is so similar, for me, he’s not been convicted of any crime but obviously the man has a problem,” Osbourne said.
“When a new regime comes into a company, we all know they sweep clean. Everybody here at CBS is nervous about their jobs,” Osbourne said. “Yes, the ladies at the table will go on and probably find another show if our show – please god it’s not taken off – we’ll always find another job. Nobody’s in the position yet.”
Osbourne sounded as if “The Talk” would not go on much longer without Chen’s husband, Moonves, atop CBS and overseeing his wife’s daytime talk show.
“It’s just, historically, when someone new comes in, things change,” she said.
CBS did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
Sara Gilbert then said she supports Chen but “this is an important time in our culture” and it’s an important start despite the fact that it impacts a friend and colleague.
“I am taking a few days off from ‘The Talk’ to be with my family. I will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on ‘Big Brother’,” Chen said in a statement provided to Fox News.
When Chen’s relationship with the CBS executive became public in 2004, she was the host of “The Early Show” on the network. She has since nabbed the roles of host on “The Talk” and “Big Brother,” both, of course, on CBS.
The high-powered Moonves resigned Sunday after at least 12 women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct in a pair of New Yorker articles authored by Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow.
The network also announced that it would donate $20 million to organizations “that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace.” According to an SEC filing, Moonves will advise CBS for one year “in order to provide for a smooth transition of his duties.” CBS will provide Moonves with “office services” and security for up to two years.
Chen had previously stood by her husband when similar claims surfaced in the past.
“I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ‘90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years,” Chen wrote in a statement on Twitter earlier this year. “Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”
Moonves’ future at CBS came into question in July, when Farrow published an expose in the New Yorker detailing allegations from six women. This week, multiple news outlets reported that Moonves was negotiating a possible exit with independent directors of CBS’ board.
Then on Sunday, the New Yorker published claims against Moonves by six more women. Some alleged he forced them to perform oral sex on him, forcibly kissed them, exposed himself to unwilling participants and put the careers of those that rebuffed his advances in jeopardy.
“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am. Effective immediately I will no longer be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CBS,” Moonves said in a departure statement. “I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization, the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees.”
Rumors have swirled since 2011 that Chen isn’t particularly well-liked by her co-hosts on “The Talk.” The New York Post reported at the time that Chen told her castmates, “My husband can fire your asses any day,” causing understandable tensions on the set.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Mariah Haas and Leora Arnowitz contributed to this report.