Fashion Police fell apart when we lost Joan Rivers. Two weeks after Joan died in September 2014, it was announced that the show would continue without her. It returned in December with love-her-or-hate-her Kathy Griffin as host. Kathy had adored Joan and had been a protégé of sorts, even if she alone made herself one.
But let’s back up. Starting in 2002, Fashion Police appeared on the air the day after red carpet events, to skewer – uh, critique – the fashions appearing at the events. Thanks to Joan, it was deliciously frank. Joan said what she wanted to say, and she was freely bleeped, because of the way she said them … not permitted on basic cable.
In September 2010, Fashion Police became a weekly show, and it expanded from 30 minutes to 60 minutes in March 2012. Joan was accompanied by panelists Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne from E! and George Kotsiopoulos, a Hollywood stylist.
Joan Rivers’ death was sudden and shocking. Melissa Rivers was not just Joan’s daughter, but also the producer of the show, and she was the person who announced the continuation.
Kathy Griffin relaunched the show following the January 2015 Golden Globes, accompanied by Giuliana, Kelly and stylist Brad Goreski, replacing George Kotsiopoulos, with an audience of 912,000. The episode following the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 26, 2015, had 686,000 viewers. Whoops.
In February, Giuliana made one joke about singer Zendaya, that her hair smelled of “patchouli oil and weed” at the Academy Awards. Kelly took great offense at that and announced her decision to leave the show, after having tweeted “you guys do realize that @Zendaya is my friend right?”
Subsequently, Rancic profusely apologized. Groveled. Sorry. So so so sorry.
Please. Joan regularly got away with things that would land other people in court.
But this wasn’t the end of the troubles. In March Kathy Griffin announced she was leaving the show after filming only seven episodes, because her style of humor “did not fit well” with the series’ creative direction. The network then put the series on hiatus until September. It returned in August for six episodes with Melissa Rivers hosting, along with Rancic and Goreski, searching for a fourth panelist. And now – finally – it returned on Monday, November 23 to rip up – uh, critique – the American Music Awards.
Melissa Rivers is a pro. She’s produced the show, and she’s no lightweight with humor. Just watch. She’s not Joan, but she has the gene. Hollywood? Watch out.