You probably know US comedian/actor Joel McHale as Jeff Winger on cult hit Community, but he spent almost twice the time as a writer and the host of E!’s The Soup.
When the show was suddenly cancelled in 2015 after 22 seasons, the network or McHale didn’t give much information as to why.
Speaking with The Music's Daniel Cribb in the lead up to his Australian tour, McHale gave a detailed explanation of why E! cancelled the long-running favourite.
McHale first saw the writing on the wall when the network asked them to stop making fun of E! juggernauts the Kardashians, which is what they had been doing his entire tenure on the show.
“More so, E! got out of the comedy business when Chelsea [Handler] left and, sadly, Joan [Rivers] died,” McHale explained. “We were the last man standing.“
A sea change in management also led to a shift in the show’s business model.
“Everyone who was writing was called a producer, which wasn’t really true, but it meant [E!] didn’t have to pay their writers any sort of residuals for each showing, and on E!, that’s how they make all their money - by reshowing the Kardasians a billion times and paying them once.
“There’s a writers guild here in America and at that point E! was a non-union house. There were no unionised workers at E!, and [the guild] came down on all the comedy shows and said, ‘You need to hire these people.’
“We used to re-air in America like 12 times a week and as soon as we became a union, they had to pay all the writers for every episode and we went from 12 re-showings down to one - just the one airing.
“That did not fit their model and that was the end. We were doing perfectly well in E! ratings; we did great compared to other stuff on the network. It was a combination of things going down and that was one of them, which is too bad because they were great, I really enjoyed working there and they were really cool.”
Check out theGuide for all information on McHale’s Aus tour.
Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), South Brisbane
Regal Theatre, Subiaco