Chris Hardwick returned to Talking Dead on Sunday night, for the first time since his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra accused him of sexual and emotional abuse. But a number of staffers who worked on the show did not return.
As The Wrap reported on Friday, a co-executive producer and a “handful” of Talking Dead’s approximately 25-person staff resigned from the Fear the Walking Dead after-show following AMC and NBC’s reinstatement of Hardwick to the program.
According to Deadline, that co-executive producer is Jen Patton, who worked with Hardwick for five years prior to her resignation. Prior to Talking Dead, she served as executive or co-executive producer on Talking Preacher, Talking Saul, and Watch What Happens: Live.
Hardwick made no mention of Patton’s departure during last night’s Talking Dead, nor did he say a word about the other former staffers who resigned, reportedly in protest, over his reinstatement. He did have a lot to say about everyone who stood by him following Dykstra’s allegations of abuse that the actress and Heroes of Cosplay cast member says took place during their two-year relationship.
“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,” Hardwick said during Sunday night’s pre-taped episode of Talking Dead, which discussed the midseason premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. “I’m so grateful to the fans, producers and the amazing casts of both of these shows for allowing me to come here and be a part of this community every week.”
He went on to say that “we are on the precipice of great change on both Walking Dead shows in the coming weeks and months,” and based on Deadline’s transcript, he seems to have been very concerned about losing the ability to recap the television show further.
Dykstra stands by her allegations of abuse, which she shared publicly via Medium in June. AMC and NBC temporarily removed Hardwick from Talking Dead later that month, but following an internal network investigation, he was reinstated to the show and all other NBC properties including America’s Got Talent, where he made a guest appearance last week.
Dykstra tweeted on Friday: “I 100% stand by every single word of my essay. I made sure it was unembellished, factual, and that I had evidence to back it up in order to protect myself in case of ACTUAL litigation (not a network investigation, where I’m not protected). That is all.”