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‘The Talk': Jerry O’Connell Nears Deal to Fill Slot Vacated by Sharon Osbourne (Exclusive)

Osbourne left show in March following an on-air spat with Sheryl Underwood

Jerry O’Connell, a favorite among daytime TV fans, is nearing a deal to become a full-time co-host on “The Talk,” a person with knowledge of the conversations told TheWrap. He’ll effectively replace Sharon Osbourne, who left the CBS show in March. The deal is expected to be announced imminently.

A second individual told us negotiations between O’Connell and the talk show have been on and off since at least May. CBS declined to comment on this story.

O’Connell, a regular guest on the program, would become the show’s first full-time male co-host. Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and Elaine Welteroth are the remaining co-hosts on “The Talk.” Carrie Ann Inaba has taken a leave of absence from the series.

Previous co-hosts on the long-running talk show include Julie Chen (who now goes by Julie Chen Moonves), Sara Gilbert, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini, Aisha Tyler and Marie Osmond.

Osbourne departed following an on-air spat with colleague Underwood. Since then, TV ratings for “The Talk” have declined — though the show was already in a downward Nielsen spiral this season with Osbourne.

Read all about the show’s 2020-21 ratings here.

During the March 10 episode, Osbourne came to the defense of longtime friend Piers Morgan after he was criticized for making disparaging comments about Meghan Markle. Some critics, including Underwood, said Morgan’s words were racially motivated (Markle, whose mother is Black, is biracial), leading to an on-air meltdown in which Osbourne said she felt like she was “about to be put in the electric chair” for having a friend others viewed as a racist.

Soon after the discussion, “The Talk” went on hiatus as CBS launched an internal review into the on-air comments about racism and allegations of racially insensitive behavior behind-the-scenes at the show. A few weeks later, on March 26, Osbourne exited the show.

“The events of the March 10 broadcast were upsetting to everyone involved, including the audience watching at home. As part of our review, we concluded that Sharon’s behavior toward her co-hosts during the March 10 episode did not align with our values for a respectful workplace,” CBS said in a statement at the time of Osbourne’s exit. “We also did not find any evidence that CBS executives orchestrated the discussion or blindsided any of the hosts. At the same time, we acknowledge the Network and Studio teams, as well as the showrunners, are accountable for what happened during that broadcast as it was clear the co-hosts were not properly prepared by the staff for a complex and sensitive discussion involving race.”

Osbourne apologized for her behavior during the March 10 show, writing in a lengthy statement on Twitter that she “panicked, felt blindsided, got defensive & allowed my fear & horror of being accused of being racist take over.” However, she has taken a more combative stance in subsequent interviews, blaming the show’s producers for intentionally blindsiding her with the segment about Morgan, calling it “the biggest set up ever” in an interview with ET before her “Talk” exit.

During an episode of Underwood’s podcast, which was released over the weekend as part of a three-installment discussion about Osbourne’s exit from “The Talk,” she said that none of the questions she asked Osbourne that day came from producers or executives. You can read more about that here.