Here’s When Chris Hardwick Will Return as Host of ‘Talking Dead’
Chris Hardwick will return as host of AMC’s Talking Dead following an internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
AMC announced this decision on Wednesday, saying that Hardwick would return to the show on Sunday, August 12th for the Fear the Walking Dead premiere aftershow.
It was previously announced that Yvette Nicole Brown would temporarily take over for Hardwick, and she will still do so on August 5th, when the show returns. This is a Season 9 preview special, and according to Entertainment Weekly, production on that special is already underway.
AMC had suspended Hardwick’s show Talking after his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, published a Medium post alleging that he was physically and emotionally abusive while they were together; Talking Dead was on hiatus when the news came out.
Hardwick has denied Dykstra’s allegations, saying that at no time did he sexually assault her. Dykstra had said in her post that during their relationship, she became so terrified to anger Hardwick that she let him sexually assault her on a regular basis. “I was expected to be ready for him when he came home from work,” she wrote. Dykstra also alleged that Hardwick had her blacklisted after their relationship ended.
In addition to being suspended by AMC, Hardwick was also replaced as moderator of AMC and BBC America’s panels at Comic-Con, with Yvette Nicole Brown hosting the Walking Dead panel instead. At the time, Brown said that she was stepping in for a friend and not trying to get his job.
All mentions of Hardwick’s name were scrubbed from Nerdist, the website he founded, in light of the allegations, although Hardwick himself had stopped working there in 2017. Nerdist’s parent company, Legendary Entertainment, said it would be conducting an investigation, though no findings have been released so far.
In Dykstra’s original Medium piece, she said she has audio and video evidence of the allegations she made in her essay. Dykstra has not released any of that material, although it sounded like she only planned to do so if Hardwick tried to sue her. Instead, she hoped he would offer her an apology.
Since then, Hardwick has released some material of his own, with text message exchanges between him and Dykstra ending up on TMZ. In the messages, Dykstra is seen begging for Hardwick to take her back after he broke up with her; they also suggest that Dykstra had cheated on Hardwick, although this is something she admitted heself in her Medium article.
Some of Hardwick’s other ex-girlfriends have also come forward since Dykstra’s piece, saying that her allegations did not match the man they knew. Hardwick’s wife, Lydia Hearst, has defended him, saying in a recent interview that he is “loving, compassionate, supportive” and that “fans can expect to see him back on the air soon.”
Reactions to AMC’s announcement today have been mixed. Clearly, the nearly 50,000 people who signed a petition calling for AMC to bring back Hardwick are thrilled, but others are disappointed that the shocking allegations Dykstra leveled did not lead to any real consequences. Nerdist writer Donna Dickens tweeted this afternoon, “All I’ll say is Chloe was adamant she didn’t want Chris to lose his livelihood, she just wanted to tell her story and maybe get an apology if he’d grown as a person (which he clearly has not).”