I think it’s time we took a moment to praise a rare instance of a network doing the right thing in the face of public pressure.
AMC announced today that, after their investigation into the allegations against him was completed, Chris Hardwick would return to host Talking Dead, their show that airs after The Walking Dead where people talk about the episode of The Walking Dead that just aired. This must have been a difficult decision for AMC, one that placed it in an impossible position.
On the one hand, there are the extremely specific and detailed accounts of Hardwick’s verbal and emotional abuse from his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra, certain aspects of which (such as Hardwick blackballing her from finding other work after their breakup) have since been corroborated by others in the industry. On the other hand, how was AMC simply supposed to let someone with the singular talents of “talking about television” and “being enthusiastic” go so readily? Such rare and hard-to-find skills have to be nurtured and cultivated, after all. With roughly 325 million people in America, such skills might be possessed among four, perhaps even five people if we’re lucky. The rest of the country expects those four or five people to keep them entertained whenever possible, and counts on networks like AMC to provide them the platform to do so. Kudos to AMC for recognizing their obligation to the public sphere.
It’s especially heartening news for Hardwick, whose previous TV credits include Horny 90s Dating Show and What Happened on the Internet Today. Without Talking Dead, Hardwick had little else to live for, with only his net worth of approximately $15 million, the Nerdist empire he created (though he left the company in 2017), and a spouse thirteen years his junior who, as an heiress to a media dynasty, is herself worth an estimated $100 million, to console him these last six weeks. That’s scant little to balance the scales against the dark, depressing notion that he might not get paid to go on TV and talk about other TV.
AMC conducted an investigation and determined that the allegations were not enough to cost this brave and singular talent of a man his featured spot on their network, to take away so much from a man who otherwise has so little. Bravo to AMC for sticking up for the little guy.
The next season of Talking Dead will premiere on August 12, immediately following the season-four premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. It’s nice to know that in such a seemingly dark time in our nation’s history, there’s at least one little beacon of light on a hill.