In 2011, media outlets were abuzz with headlines like "Daytime Shakeup" and "Death of Soap Opera." Celebrity chefs had become rock stars in the new millennium, and TV networks were itching to build in new food/lifestyle shows. The Chew was one of the shows aimed at shaking up daytime television, and it did so successfully for seven seasons.
At the time, The Washington Post compared it to The View, but The Chew was more about food mixed in with good-natured gab, and included less politics and news of the day chatter from the start. The show would prove to be a hit, winning Daytime Emmys in 2015 and 2016, and building up a legion of loyal fans. As popular as The Chew was with its five hosts for a number of years, all was not right in the kitchen, and ABC eventually grew tired of the recipe, cancelling it in summer 2018.
So what happened to put The Chew on the chopping block? Well, there are a number of possible culprits that led to its demise. Here’s the story behind The Chew’s cancellation, and what happened after its goose was cooked.
ABC was looking to expand Good Morning America
Television networks are constantly retooling their programming schedules and some simply fall through the cracks in favor of other shows. One very possible reason that The Chew was pushed out of the programming schedule was to make way for more time dedicated to the network’s Good Morning America format.
According to Deadline, ABC was looking to keep up with NBC’s four-hour block of Today Show coverage, and expanding GMA was a cheaper way to do it. Production costs for both shows isn’t public information, but Chew co-host, Carla Hall seemed to agree that production costs were a factor.
To ABC president, Ben Sherwood, it was the right move, though a "bittersweet" one since it meant the cancellation of the popular food program. "We believe there is great opportunity for viewers and advertisers in expanding to a third hour," Sherwood said of beefing up GMA. By the end of the summer, The Chew was out and GMA Day was on the air. In many markets, the new GMA hour aired in the afternoon—three hours after the morning show ended—which is the reason for the new name for the additional hour.
Ratings had started to drop
If a TV show starts to dip in ratings it can be a death sentence. Despite the love from fans that poured in after The Chew’s cancellation, the numbers just weren’t what they used to be.
The Chew’s final season was still pulling in 2.425 million viewers, but it was a slip of three percent from 2.508 during its previous season. That might not seem like much, but that was just one slice of the ratings pie. Among its key audience of women 18-49, ratings had dipped 13 percent. .
Then again, the world of television is different than it was when the show first premiered. Now people can watch their favorite shows whenever they want with streaming. So how much weight do ratings even carry? Not much, according to Hall, who feels ratings weren’t the deal-breaker.
"They look at it [TV] on their devices, and there are no metrics for that," Hall said. "It looks like everybody’s numbers are down, and it’s because nobody’s home and has appointment television."
That might be partly true, but it’s probably safe to assume if a show was dead last with Nielsen’s ratings, it probably wasn’t number one in streaming.
Mario Batali’s sexual assault allegations didn’t help
Mario Batali was the most recognizable face when The Chew debuted in 2011, and he stayed with the program until December 2017. When numerous women came forward and accused the celebrity chef of sexual misconduct over several decades, ABC announced that it had terminated its relationship with him. (No charges were ultimately filed).
Having your most famous co-host abruptly leave the show following something like possible sexual assault is never a good thing. To her credit, Carla Hall said that herself and her co-stars remained positive about the change. "You know, things happen in life and so we just make lemonade," Hall said. "We just get in there and we’re in it together."
Initially, Batali’s departure didn’t cause a ratings plummet either. In the week before the accusations came out, the show’s season seven-day averages were 319,000 women 18-49. Following his leave they were around 320,000 viewers.
That’s not to say that Batali’s departure didn’t hurt The Chew. When he left the show, ABC essentially lost the six years worth of episodes that they could use as reruns. This also meant that earlier seasons of the show probably wouldn’t be sold to other cooking channels or be shown on ABC Family.
It lost another longtime cast member in August 2017
Daytime talk shows seem to mix up their co-hosts on a regular basis, but The Chew’s cast remained constant from 2011-2017. In August 2017, just before Batali’s departure, longtime cast member Daphne Oz said goodbye after six seasons.
"It has been an incredible 6 seasons with the @abcthechew crew, and I am honored to always be a part of this wild family of 5!" Oz said on Instagram.
Oz said she left the show to focus on her new baby and being a mom to her other young children. Fans can only speculate whether Oz felt the show’s time was winding down, but her absence, along with Batali’s soon after, certainly changed the dynamic of the show. "Nobody can hide," Hall said. "With three people, you really can’t say, ‘Okay, those four will take care of it.’"
Creator and executive producer of the show, Gordon Elliott said of Oz that the "moment she sat at the table with Mario, Clinton, Michael and Carla, I knew we had a great television show." The Chew was never the same after she left.
The cast bid The Chew an emotional goodbye
Learning that the seventh season of The Chew would be its last wasn’t easy for the cast. Carla Hall said that ABC informed everyone on the show’s crew after a Wednesday taping. "It’s harsh, and it’s hard, but I get it" she said.
The co-hosts didn’t hide the fact that they wouldn’t be back for an eighth season, and co-host Clinton Kelly informed the in-studio audience their show was coming to an end during one of the final tapings.
"The mood is a little sad around here to be honest with you," Kelly said. "There is a lot of people who work really hard on this show and really believe in this show and we’re all going to miss this show very, very much."
Co-host Michael Symon said, "It has been the most fun I have ever had in my life of any job I have ever had and it’s because of the fans."
Clearly that appreciation was shared by the fans who welcomed the cast with high-fives and a standing ovation for The Chew’s final taping.
Fans petitioned ABC to bring The Chew back
It’s pretty cool that in this day and age if your favorite show gets cancelled you might just have a shot at getting it back if you get enough people to cry about it with you. (Hey, it worked for Brooklyn Nine Nine and The Mindy Project.) Fans did their best to create a groundswell for bringing The Chew back after its run had the plug pulled. By the beginning of July, a petition urging ABC to bring it back to television was up and collecting signatures.
The petition argued that the show "teaches life skills and provides laughs and positivity in a world full of negativity." At the time of this writing, it had 6,488 signatures out of its 7,000 goal.
While the petition hasn’t been successful enough to revive the show yet, fans were treated to a brief Chew reunion on social media. The three cast members gathered together for a live stream on Instagram and Facebook in October 2018 to do what else, but cook, drink, and chat for a bit. "Very excited to hang out with these two for a day!" Michael Symon said about seeing his co-stars again.
It may not have been a full fledged Chew revival, but it’s still better than cold leftovers, right?
The hosts are staying in touch and staying busy
It would be understandable if the co-hosts from The Chew wanted a little time away from each other after the show ended. After all, Carla Hall did refer to the show’s ending as a "living funeral." That’s not been the case for the three co-hosts/friends who have not only kept busy after the show ended, but stayed in touch with each other as well.
Clinton Kelly confessed that they "text each other all the time" in their own special group chat on the regular. In August of 2018, Michael Symon shared via his Instagram that he was attending a dinner party with fellow Chew castmate Carla Hall. While Kelly might not have been tagged, we’re betting he was there in spirit.
The cast seems to be keeping busy and enjoying life post-Chew too. Michael Symon has his Mabel’s BBQ restaurant in Cleveland and new Las Vegas locale to focus on, and Carla Hall is out promoting a new soul food cookbook.
It didn’t take long for a Chew cast member to land back on ABC
The Chew might have aired its final episode back in June of 2018, but ABC was still running reruns of the show in its regular time slot well into the summer.
The final kick into the garbage can came for The Chew when GMA Day made its third hour debut on September 10. Even then, fans quickly saw a familiar face on the inaugural episode when Carla Hall stopped by to do a cooking segment. The Chew chef made a chicken and wine recipe and fans flipped at the surprise appearance.
What was likely a strategic gesture of goodwill to appeal to fans of The Chew, the appearance clearly got the attention of Hall’s supporters. Fans took to social media to call for GMA Day to make Hall a regular on the program. "Best part of #GMADay, @carlahall cooking segment!! " wrote one Twitter user.
Hall may not have become full-time member of the GMA Day cast, but her appearance was popular for enough for her to return again less than two weeks later.
All My Children fans rejoiced at its cancellation
Fans of The Chew were disappointed to see it go, but longtime loyalists of the daytime soap All My Children, eh, not so much. In fact, All My Children fans seemed to delight in the show’s demise and took to Twitter with praise. "See ya never The Chew! Bring back All My Children," tweeted one user. So where did this hate come from?
Well, the long-running soap came to an end in 2011 to make room for The Chew. Needless to say, fans were still bitter seven years later, with some even calling The Chew’s cancellation karma and payback for bumping AMC off the air after 41 years.
Oddly enough, GMA seemed to be getting blowback from some Chew fans on Twitter that mirrored the feelings of AMC fans. "…we don’t need another hour of fake news we need a good show like The Chew in this world…," tweeted one viewer.
Carla Hall said in 2011 she understood the frustration from the soap’s fans, and she sees it even more clearly now. She doesn’t blame GMA, but understands how fans of her show feel. "Now I’m on both sides of that," Hall said.