Julie Chen made headlines on Sept. 18 when she announced that she was leaving "The Talk," which she's co-hosted for nearly a decade, in the wake of the sexual misconduct scandal that forced husband Les Moonves to step down from his role as chairman and CEO of CBS.
Julie has also long hosted "Big Brother" for the same network — but as far as that gig is concerned, she's not going anywhere, says TMZ, which reports that she wants to stay at "BB" and that CBS won't ask her to leave because "the network does not want to punish Julie for her husband Les Moonves' alleged misdeeds," CBS insiders confirm.
According to TMZ, Julie, 48, is going to finish out the current 20th season of "BB" and will return for a 21st season next year if the show is renewed, which seems likely considering that ratings are good.
However, a source close to the program tells Us Weekly that though some production staff want Julie to stay on if the series is picked up, "the network has also been quietly putting out feelers" for a new host, Us writes, in case Julie does not come back.
Names that have been floated, Us reports, include "Big Brother" Season 2 winner Dr. Will Kirby, "Celebrity Big Brother" runner-up Ross Mathews and "Big Brother Canada" host Arisa Cox, though a second source close to the program tells Us that CBS would likely seek a more well-known name or possibly even rebrand the whole series.
Julie's decision to leave "The Talk" was her idea and did not happen because of any pressure from CBS, reports TMZ. In explaining why she was exiting, Julie said in a taped statement — as co-hosts Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Eve and guest co-host Carrie Ann Inaba looked on — "Right now, I need to spend more time at home with my husband and young son." Julie and Les, 68, share son Charlie, who turns 9 later this month.
In the wake of sexual harassment and assault allegations made against her husband, Julie initially took a break from "The Talk," which debuted its new season earlier in September. She's since made it clear she supports Les — who's vehemently denied the claims made against him — and will continue to stand by him as CBS continues its internal investigation.
TMZ reports that "it makes sense" that Julie chose "BB" over "The Talk" because the reality competition show's shooting schedule is much less demanding than the daytime talk show's schedule, which gives her back the time she says she wants. TMZ also points out that since "The Talk" discusses topical subjects — like sexual harassment in Hollywood — things could venture into uncomfortable territory that Julie doesn't want to have to wade into.
In August and early September, The New Yorker published stories by journalist Ronan Farrow in which a total of 12 women detailed alleged bad behavior they say Les committed over the decades.
"The appalling accusations in this article are untrue," the longtime TV exec said in a statement following the publication of the second story on Sept. 9. "What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations."