Mario Batali has abruptly exited as co-host of ABC’s The Chew amid sexual harassment allegations leveled against the celebrity chef and restaurateur. Food Network has also put on hold plans to relaunch the series that made him a TV star, Molto Mario. The online site Eater New York, part of Vox Media, reported Monday that the incidents involve at least four women, three of whom worked for Batali. One of women, none was named in the story, said that Batali groping her chest after wine had spilled on her shirt. Another said he grabbed her from behind and holding her tightly against his body.
Today at 1 p.m. ET the ABC culinary feast marks its 500th edition with a special hour as its five co-hosts savor their chat-and-chew success. “The Chew was never about food, it was about these five people,” says executive producer Gordon Elliott before a recent taping at the show’s Manhattan studio.
No returning series in any daypart is off to a hotter start this fall than ABC’s daytime talkshow The Chew, which gobbled up more series records in key demos last week. Now in its third season, the food-themed program that replaced All My Children in 2011 averaged 2.6 million viewers for the week of Sept. 30-Oct. 4 — up 15% vs. the comparable week a year ago, according to Nielsen.
ABCs’ All My Children replacement The Chew debuted on Monday to 2.5 million total viewers. By way of comparison, the lifestyle talker posted a larger opener than the 2.2 million who tuned in to the first episode of CBS’ The Talk last year — although the programs do not air in the same time period.
Iron Chef or Martha Stewart this isn’t. Nor will the five co-hosts take on top news of the day like their cousins over at The View once the show premieres live on Sept. 26 in place of All My Children and One Life to Live.