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'The Talk' Sparks Debate After Announcing Jerry O'Connell Will Replace Sharon Osbourne

'The Talk' Sparks Debate After Announcing Jerry O'Connell Will Replace Sharon Osbourne
Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty Images; Rich Fury/Getty Images

Popular CBS talk show The Talk sparked debate Tuesday after announcing a change in co-hosts.

American comedian and The Talk host Sheryl Underwood reported actor Jerry O'Connell will be replacing previous co-host Sharon Osbourne.

Watch the video announcement here:

Osbourne, wife of famed musician Ozzy Osbourne, left the show in March of 2021 after an inflammatory, on-air debate with Underwood in which she defended Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.

Morgan received backlash after dismissing British royal family member and Black woman Meghan Markle's concerns about racism within the British royal family and her mental health.

Morgan called Markle's complaint "disgusting" and "race-baiting," before storming off of the set of Good Morning Britain.

Osbourne defended Morgan for his racist rhetoric via Twitter, saying:

"I am with you. I stand by you. People forget that you're paid for your opinion and that you're just speaking the truth."

She then attempted to defend herself against allegations of racism on The Talk, stating:

"I feel even like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist."

Underwood explained:

"It is not the exact words of racism, it's the implication and the reaction to it ― to not want to address that because [Meghan Markle] is a Black woman and to try and dismiss it or make it seem less than what it is, that's what makes it racist."

The show took a brief hiatus between March 15 and April 12 to conduct an internal investigation on the incident as well as other allegations made by current and former co-hosts against Osbourne.

Osbourne eventually parted ways with the show.

O'Connell, known for his roles in Stand by Me and Jerry Macguire, has previously appeared as guest co-host on The Talk.

Underwood announced he will be returning to replace Osbourne as the full-time co-host starting season 12 of The Talk, which will be premiering later this year.

He will also be the first full-time male co-host in the show's 11 year history.

O'Connell said this after the announcement was made:

"You ladies have been so welcoming to me."
"I came here as a guest months ago, and just from the moment I walked're just gracious, you're kind, you're fun...and it worked. And here we are. We're going to have a lot of fun."

Executive producers of The Talk, Heather Gray and Kristin Matthews, believe that O'Connell will bring "a unique and entertaining perspective" to the show.

They were quoted as saying:

"We loved his infectious enthusiasm, humor, openness and insights as a guest co-host and look forward to him now bringing those dynamic qualities to the show every day."

Fans of the show have mixed feelings about choosing O'Connell as the replacement co-host, though.

Some fans are ecstatic about the choice to have O'Connell serve as the new, full-time co-host, believing having a male perspective on the show could broaden the show's dynamic.

Included among these fans is Bravo's Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen host Andy Cohen.

Other fans, however, were disappointed with the decision to choose O'Connell as Osbourne's replacement.

They cited The Talk has historically been about giving women a platform and providing a strictly female perspective.

Many also argued being a cisgender heterosexual White man, O'Connell lacks a diverse perspective.

At this point, the producers have not yet responded to the call for a more diverse co-host for The Talk.

All that fans can do now is wait.