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CBS extends 'The Talk' hiatus amid investigation sparked by Sharon Osbourne's outburst

Christie D'Zurilla
Los Angeles Times (TNS)
FILE - Sharon Osbourne attends a special screening of "A Million Little Pieces" on Dec. 4, 2019, in Los Angeles. CBS says its daytime show "The Talk" will stay on hiatus for another week after a discussion about racism involving co-host Sharon Osbourne went off the rails last week. Osbourne reacted with anger and profanity when asked to talk about her support and friendship with British TV personality Piers Morgan. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

The production hiatus on "The Talk" has been extended until Tuesday as CBS investigates events that arose on the show last week after panelist Sharon Osbourne defended pal Piers Morgan against accusations of racism.

The conversation on the show last week grew tense and awkward as it turned to race. An emotional Osbourne declared that she was not racist, then told co-host Sheryl Underwood not to cry as they discussed Morgan's inflammatory comments about the former Meghan Markle after the Duchess of Sussex's recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Osbourne also asked Underwood, who is Black, to "educate" her on what Morgan, who quit "Good Morning Britain" last week over the flap, had said that was racist.

"CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace across all of our productions," a spokesperson for the network said in a statement Tuesday. "We're also very mindful of the important concerns expressed and discussions taking place regarding events on 'The Talk.' This includes a process where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary."

Osbourne issued an apology  Friday. The network announced over the weekend that "The Talk" would be on hold briefly while it looked into the situation.

The same day as the apology, via Twitter, Holly Robinson Peete accused Osbourne of calling her and Leah Remini — both former co-hosts on "The Talk" — too "ghetto" to stay on the show past its first season. Osbourne denied using the term and stated Saturday that she had no power over hiring and firing on "The Talk."

Then on Tuesday, journalist Yashar Ali, in an article on Substack, reported on racist, anti-Asian comments allegedly made by Osbourne against former panelist Julie Chen and crude homophobic comments allegedly made against Sara Gilbert, another former panelist. Chen left the show in late 2018, around the time her husband, Les Moonves, resigned in disgrace from his job as CBS' chief executive amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

"I feel ... like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist," Osbourne told Underwood on last Wednesday's show. "And for me, at 68 years of age, to have to turn around and say, 'I ain't racist.' ... How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?"