Fashion Police Pulled, Executive Admits Show Returned “Too Soon” After Joan Rivers’ Death
E! has pulled “Fashion Police” from its schedule after weeks of controversy and unexpected exits. The network announced the news in a statement on Tuesday night.
“E!’s comedy series ‘Fashion Police’ is going on hiatus and will return in September. We look forward to taking this opportunity to refresh the show before the next awards season. Our talented co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski, along with Executive Producer Melissa Rivers, will continue their roles as we evolve the show into its next chapter for the legions of ‘Fashion Police’ fans around the world,” says the statement.
The decision is an about-face from late last week. As Gossip Cop reported, shortly after Kathy Griffin announced her resignation from the series, E! said the show would still air as planned on March 30. There were also two additional episodes after planned for after that one, and were expected to air this spring. Now none of it is happening. The turn of events follows not only Griffin’s departure, but also that of Kelly Osbourne, who quit following Giuliana Rancic’s infamous remarks about Zendaya on the show’s post-Oscars episode.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new plan is for a rebooted “Fashion Police” to return in the fall, tied to the Emmys and other events, with six episodes that feature a new panel. The Wrap, meanwhile, says it’s still possible the series will be “quietly” canceled in the wake of all the bad press and issues with advertisers.
In an interview with THR, NBCUniversal Lifestyle Networks Group President Frances Berwick admits they made the wrong decision in resuming “Fashion Police” just a few months after Joan Rivers’ death last September. “With the benefit of hindsight, we definitely brought it back too soon,” she says. Berwick further confesses that they did consider canceling the program following Rivers’ passing, but ultimately decided the franchise’s successful past and its loyal viewers were reasons to continue.
Berwick downplays the “noise and drama” that hasn’t been “helpful or additive to the creative process,” and says Rancic’s dreadlocks comment was “misinterpreted… but handled completely appropriately.” Meanwhile, E! Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Jeff Olde, points to various stars’ interest in joining the series as evidence that it remains popular. “It proves what we’re saying. That people love ‘Fashion Police,'” he tells the outlet.
As for Griffin’s criticism that “Fashion Police” is mean, Berwick says, “The show is about comedy and fashion, and those are very light, frothy, fun subjects.” Still, she adds that the network will review some of the more controversial aspects of its red carpet coverage, such as the much maligned mani-cam. Berwick tells THR, “To the extent that this has all gotten very intense and serious — it’s meant to be fun. When it stops being fun or if we think that we’re offending or crossing a line, absolutely, that’s the time to re-evaluate and that’s what we’re doing, frankly.” TELL US: What do YOU think should happen to “Fashion Police”?