By Meredith Blake
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Les Moonves alleged improprieties have taken a professional toll on his wife Julie Chen. In a videotaped message Sept. 18, she tearfully announced she’d be leaving “The Talk,” the CBS daytime show she’s moderated since its debut in 2010.
Los Angeles Times
That’s the affectionate nickname devoted fans of the CBS reality show “Big Brother” gave host Julie Chen, a tribute to her mechanical precision and cool detachment amid the often sordid and outrageous shenanigans of the “houseguests.”
But when Chen, who has hosted “Big Brother” since its premiere in 2000, signed off at the end of a live episode Sept. 13, she went off script in dramatically uncharacteristic fashion.
“I’m Julie Chen Moonves,” she said. “Goodnight.”
Under normal circumstances, Chen’s use of her married name might have been met with a shrug. But coming in her first on-air appearance since her husband, Les Moonves, resigned from CBS amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault days earlier, those two syllables sent a jolt across the Twitterverse.
It was hard to interpret the signoff as anything other than a show of support for her embattled spouse, who for 15 years had reigned as chief executive of CBS, and a rebuke of his corporate rivals. Some even saw it as a swipe at the dozen women who’ve gone on the record with allegations against Moonves dating to the 1980s.
“Tonight, Julie Chen signed off Big Brother as Julie Chen Moonves, firmly standing w/her husband, a serial sexual assaulter who ruined careers,” tweeted Danny Deraney, a publicist whose clients include one of Moonves’s accusers, Illeana Douglas. “She is complicit.”
The outcry hasn’t deterred Chen, who has continued to use her married name on “Big Brother” and is slated to return next season as host of the reality show.