‘Talking Dead’ Loses Female Executive Producer, ‘Handful’ of Staffers After Chris Hardwick’s Return (Exclusive)

Embattled host returns to AMC talk show on Sunday

Chris Hardwick Talking Dead
Jordin Althaus/AMC

When Chris Hardwick returns to “Talking Dead” on Sunday, the AMC talk show will be down one executive producer and several other staffers who left as a result of the network’s decision to allow him back on the “Walking Dead” wrap-up show.

The female executive producer and a “handful” of the approximately 25 people who work on the talk show show left after Hardwick was reinstated last month, according to multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation. He was allowed to return after an investigation by AMC into accusations of sexual and emotional abuse.

AMC declined to comment on the departures.

Hardwick was temporarily removed from “Talking Dead” back in June after Chloe Dykstra, a former girlfriend of Hardwick’s, accused him of long-term emotional abuse and controlling behavior, as well as hurting her career. He denied any wrongdoing.

“We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step,” AMC said in a statement last month announcing that Hardwick had been reinstated.

According to one of the individuals, Hardwick gathered “Talking Dead” staffers in what was described as a “very emotional” meeting on Wednesday to apologize for the recent turmoil, and his demeanor was described as “apologetic and contrite.” The individual said Hardwick also invited crew members to one-on-one meetings to address any further concerns.

After Dykstra’s allegations were first published in June, multiple current and former colleagues of Hardwick described him to TheWrap as a mercurial boss prone to temperamental outbursts and loud confrontations similar to those described in Dykstra’s essay.

One former employee who worked for Hardwick during his time at Nerdist said he also witnessed incidents in which Hardwick or those in his circle would make it difficult for those who crossed him to find work in the future.

After Dykstra’s essay, Hardwick was pulled from “Talking Dead,” scrubbed from Nerdist’s website and removed from multiple panels he was scheduled to moderate at San Diego Comic-Con last month. His relationship with NBC as host of “The Wall” went under review.

However, shortly after AMC decided Hardwick should return to “Talking Dead,” NBC confirmed that it had also restored Hardwick on its programs, including “The Wall.” He also appeared as a guest judge on “America’s Got Talent” last week.

Hardwick’s name was also restored on the Nerdist website as a co-founder.