After 12 years, Joel McHale is bidding farewell to The Soup.
The news comes after a lengthy run, during which the affable actor-comedian has balanced the E! series with a busy schedule that’s included film work and several seasons on Community. In recent years, he’s also hosted both the ESPYs and the White House Correspondents Dinner, raising his profile along with questions about his future with the cable clip show.
McHale’s final show, which will also mark the series’ last, will air Dec. 18. In the weeks leading up to it, the host is expected to reflect on the franchise’s most memorable moments. E!’s prior iteration, Talk Soup, premiered in 1991 with Greg Kinnear as its then frontman. Other emcees followed, including Hal Sparks in the late ‘90s and Aisha Tyler in the early aughts, before McHale took over a rebooted version in 2004.
“We are incredibly proud of the long-running success of The Soup. [The show] has delivered countless laughs and unforgettable episodes, and we are grateful to the talented team’s fearless wit and clever approach week after week,” E!’s exec vp programming and development Jeff Olde said in a statement Wednesday, adding of its host: “Joel took the show to new heights for more than a decade, and his irreverent humor and unique brand of comedy as captured so perfectly on The Soup will be missed.”
To be sure, The Soup has long had a complicated relationship with its host network, which often serves as the butt of its jokes. (Hello, Kardashians.) Though never a Keeping Up with the Kardashians-sized juggernaut, the KP Anderson-run clip show has long generated enviable buzz and proved largely consistent, even as it bounced around the schedule.
Over the years, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network has also dabbled with extensions, including short-lived The Soup Investigates. McHale and Anderson also served as executive producers on recent E! series, The Comment Section.
The news opens WME-repped McHale up for other acting opportunities this pilot season, and he’s likely to be in heavy demand. Already, he’s set appear in an arc on Fox’s forthcoming X-Files reboot.
“I loved doing The Soup for all of these years (86 to be exact) but am excited to solely focus on my acting career now,” McHale said. “Thanks to all who watched and thanks to Kim Kardashian’s ass for all that it’s done for me and my family.”
Nov. 18, 4:20 p.m. Updated with McHale’s statement.