It had to be an awkward time for NBC, depending on when Chris Hardwick's episode of "America's Got Talent" was filmed. But as revealed at the close of Tuesday's episode, it will now air next week, marking Hardwick's first televised appearance since he was accused of sexual misconduct.
Hardwick was cleared to return as host of AMC's "Talking Dead" last week, after an internal investigation by that network. He had initially been suspended from the show, with Yvette Nicole Brown stepping in to moderate a "Dead" panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Now, it looks like he's back in the business of being the busiest man on television, as NBC also told Variety that Hardwick would return as host of their game show "The Wall," with production set to begin on its third season in the fall.
Chloe Dykstra, who initally accused Hardwick of emotional abuse and sexual assault during their relationship together, was satisfied with the result, posting via Twitter that she'd never intended to harm his career with her initial allegations.
Dykstra never mentioned Hardwick by name in her initial story, posted on Medium, but he nevertheless quickly responded with a statement of his own denying her claims.
It's unclear when Hardwick's "America's Got Talent" appearance was taped. Considering NBC's apprehension about Hardwick's future with the network, we suspect the episode was already in the can, putting NBC in an awkward spot. Had AMC's investigation come down against the comedian, what do they do with this important "Judge Cuts" episode? Do they make all 18 acts perform again, or do some tricky editing to remove him, which could have violated game show standards.
Thankfully, everything worked out. It is unclear if NBC conducted an investigation of their own, as they declined to comment for Variety's story. And while fans tuning in for Hardwick's "AGT" return next Tuesday, or his live return to "Talking Dead" that weekend, might hope he'll make some comment about the allegations, we wouldn't recommend holding your breath for that.
More than likely, both Hardwick and his networks will hope the whole thing just fades away, much like E! and ABC are hoping people are forgetting that Ryan Seacrest was ever accused of any misconduct.
Chris Hardwick's episode of "America's Got Talent" airs next Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. "Talking Dead" returns Sunday, Aug. 12, at 11 p.m. ET on AMC after the midseason premiere of "Fear the Walking Dead."