“It’s fun, and it works, and we’re going to have a lot of fun,” the Jerry Maguire star, 47, said. “First of all, I want to say, you ladies have been so welcoming to me. I mean, I came here as a guest months ago, and just from the moment I walked in, you’re just gracious, you’re kind, you’re fun, and it worked. And here we are!”
The Ballbuster actor becomes the first man to join the show permanently, taking a seat next to cohosts Sheryl Underwood, Elaine Welteroth and Amanda Kloots. His arrival comes less than four months after Sharon Osbourne exited the show following racially insensitive comments.
“I’m angry, I’m hurt,” the Unbreakable author, 68, said of her exit during an April interview on Real Time With Bill Maher. “I’ve been called so many things in my life … but a racist is one thing I will not take.”
The former reality star came under fire in March after defending friend Piers Morgan‘s remarks about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s bombshell CBS interview, during which they accused the royal family of racist behavior.
Following the on-air discussion, former Talk cohosts — including Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini — came forward, accusing Osbourne of making racially charged remarks in the past. She denied the claims and the show went on a hiatus while launching an internal investigation. On March 26, the network announced she would not be returning.
O’Connell, for his part, is a frequent guest on the talk show, which is currently down two hosts. In addition to Osbourne, Carrie Ann Inaba announced she was taking a break from work to focus on her health in April.
“We are beyond thrilled Jerry O’Connell is our new host. We loved his infectious enthusiasm, humor, openness and insights as a guest cohost and look forward to him now bringing those dynamic qualities to the show every day,” the show’s executive producers Heather Gray and Kristin Matthews said in a statement. “As an accomplished actor, devoted husband and father, Jerry will bring a unique and entertaining perspective to the conversation.”