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After an internal investigation into allegations by actress and ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra of sexual assault and emotional abuse, AMC has decided to bring Hardwick back as host of Talking Dead when the post-show series returns Aug. 12.
Yvette Nicole Brown, who took over moderating several panels for Hardwick at Comic-Con, will still host the Aug. 5 Walking Dead season nine preview special and will be a guest on the Aug. 12 premiere of Talking Dead when Hardwick returns to the chair. A return date for the weekly talk show Talking With Chris Hardwick has not yet been determined as the series would not be due to return until next summer. The timing comes as Fear the Walking Dead is coming back for the second half of its fourth season and ahead of the October season nine debut of the flagship Walking Dead.
“Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of Talking Dead and Talking With Chris Hardwick,” AMC said in a statement. “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.”
In a June 14 essay for Medium, Dykstra shared allegations from a relationship with a man who was believed to be Hardwick, accusing the individual of abuse and sexual assault. She did not name Hardwick in her post.
Hardwick has denied all claims of sexual assault, noting that his three-year relationship with Dykstra “was not perfect.”
Hardwick also hosts NBC reality competition series The Wall, but the network did not take any action following Dykstra’s allegations given the long wait for the show’s return. NBC is assessing the situation and has not commented beyond that.
AMC’s decision to reinstate Hardwick comes the same day that HBO programming president Casey Bloys faced the press at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, where he defended the cabler’s decision to support James Franco and continue on with season two of The Deuce, in which Franco stars as twins. Per Bloys, HBO talked with producers and stars, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, and, ultimately, “we all felt comfortable moving forward with a second season.”