As previously forecast, Chris Hardwick returned to host The Talking Dead following AMC’s investigation into abuse allegations from his ex-Chloe Dykstra. She had penned an explosive Medium post about an unnamed ex-boyfriend, and the details and timing described in her piece all pointed to Hardwick as the subject of the claims, although she did not participate in the investigative process. Both AMC and NBC have now stated that he’ll keep his hosting gigs.
On Sunday evening, Hardwick returned to the zombie-apocalypse-centered aftershow amid further upheaval, as Deadline reports that several staffers (including a co-executive producer) quit their jobs at The Talking Dead in protest of his return. During Hardwick’s pre-taped show open, he expressed gratitude without directly addressing Dykstra’s allegations. The Hollywood Reporter reveals a heavy few moments from a teary-eyed Hardwick:
“Hi. Uh, you know, normally I recap the show we’re about to talk about here, but instead I really just want to take a minute, and I want say that I am so appreciative to be standing here right now and I want to thank you, the Walking Dead community, for all of your support these last couple of months.
“You know, this show is not just a job to me, this is — this is a vital part of my life, and this has been like a sanctuary these last seven years we’ve been here. This has been with me through good times and bad times and I have so much gratitude to you, the fans, and the producers, and the amazing casts of both of these shows, you know, for allowing me to come here and be a part of this community every week. This is what this is. This a community.”
Hardwick went on to say that he had “never been more thankful” to introduce the show than during this return, and the Nerdist website, which previously erased all traces of their founder and CEO, has now restored Hardwick’s name as well. Over the past few months, Hardwick’s career took several hits, including the cancellation of his Comic-Con panel-appearances. Sunday evening’s events follow defenses from three of Hardwick’s exes, who all insisted that their experiences with him were very different than the ones described by Dykstra, and the three women urged the public not to rush to judgment.