UPDATE, 5 PM TODAY: In her first public comments since her Tweeted departure from E!’s Fashion Police, Kathy Griffin expressed surprise that her exit had blown up into such a big deal Friday night at a comedy concert in Waterbury, Conn. “It just didn’t work out. That’s it. That’s the Scandal,” Griffin told the audience in a video acquired and posted by TMZ. Griffin also did a funny imitation of Cher, who she said called her about the so-called brouhaha. “I just am surprised that people are so invested in this show,” Griffin said. “But I shouldn’t be because” the late Joan Rivers, whom she ostensibly replaced, “was so incredible and amazing, and it just wasn’t the right thing for me.”
UPDATE, 6 PM THURSDAY: The replacement rumor mill already had coughed up such names as Khloe Kardashian, NeNe Leakes and Naya Rivera when Kelly Osbourne exited last month, but E! is keeping mum about the slot thus far. “We can confirm that Kathy Griffin is leaving E!’s Fashion Police,” an E! spokesperson told Deadline today. “We wish her all the best and are grateful for her time on the show, as well as the many laughs that she gave us all. Fashion Police will return, as scheduled, on Monday, March 30 at 9pm with our talented Co-Hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski and Executive Producer Melissa Rivers. No further information is available at this time.”
Much more a vet than Griffin of the show once led by Joan Rivers, Osbourne walked away from her co-hosting perch of five years on February 27. Osbourne’s departure followed her outrage at comments made by fellow FPer Giulana Rancic’s about the dreadlocks Zendaya Coleman was sporting at the Oscars last month. Rancic later apologized or her remarks, which Osbourne seemed to accept, but she left soon afterward anyway. With Osbourne and now Griffin gone, the ratings-struggling FP is down to just the duo of Rancic and Goreski.
PREVIOUS, 5:36 PM THURSDAY: For the second time in two weeks, a co-host is exiting the E! snark show. Kathy Griffin announced via Twitter today that is leaving Fashion Police after just seven episodes. “I discovered that my style does not fit with the creative direction of the show and now it’s time to move on,” the outspoken comedian wrote.
In a magazine cover interview for the Chicago-Sun Times earlier in the week, Griffin had hinted what was to come. When asked if she would have delivered Rancic’s offensive line about Zendaya’s hair looking like it must smell of “patchouli or weed,” she responded: “Probably not. But I wouldn’t have said the joke in the first place. Some dude wrote it for her.” Asked if she had advice for Rancic going forward, Griffin said dismissively, “Yes: Don’t have anyone write you jokes or even suggest jokes for you on Fashion Police. … You have enough great insider gossip from actually being on the red carpet. That’s what fans want to hear the next day. Just talk and be yourself.”
In the interview, Griffin said: “The show wanted to do a running segment called ‘Whore Score.’ Um, no thanks. I think we can do better.” Griffin also was asked if the Rancic comment about Zendaya was symptomatic of a problem on the show. “I think it’s emblematic of several new developments,” she said “And I say that as one of the actual ‘new developments.’ Since the announcement was made that the show was going to continue — very soon after Joan’s passing, I might add — the speculation over who would take over Joan’s seat became a very hot topic in the Hollywood journalism world. Little did I know, after a lot of soul searching and the network begging me to take the position, the overwhelming response to me personally was quite simply, ‘You’re no Joan Rivers,’ ‘I’ll always miss Joan Rivers,’ ‘You’ll never be able to fill her shoes,’ ‘Who do you think you are trying to be? Joan Rivers?’ Well, no shit. Joan Rivers is no longer with us. I miss her far more than any angry tweeter! I’ve been dealing with the unique challenges that come with taking over a very specific role when someone has passed away. I have done/will do my best to fill my own shoes. I’m no spring chicken, kids — I have a body of work myself that I stand by. To my knowledge, the current Fashion Police team is, for the most part, the team that worked for Joan all those years. You cannot put a square peg in a round hole. My approach to comedy may seem too nuanced, and this may be too inside baseball for the viewers to give a crap about. But as it is my living, passion, and vocation, here’s the best I can give you: I will make my Miley Cyrus jokes as long as people want to laugh at them. But there is a chasm of difference between making a joke about Miley Cyrus wearing duct tape over her nipples out in public (which I think is totally fair game) and simply looking at a photo of her on a red carpet and saying she is ugly or a bad singer or pathetic or something like that.”
Deadline’s Lisa de Moraes contributed to this report.