“Fashion Police” will return to E! this August with Melissa Rivers, Variety has learned exclusively.
Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski are also set to return with Rivers, who will continue her exec producer duties on the show as she takes the seat of her late mother, Joan Rivers. The new format will also include two rotating chairs, featuring two different celebrity guests with the trio each episode.
The series kicks off August 31 with coverage of the MTV Video Music Awards, and will run for six episodes through the end of the year.
“As an executive producer since the beginning, Melissa helped shape ‘Fashion Police’ into an iconic TV series that couples fashion with comedy,” said Jeff Olde, exec VP of programming and development for E! on Wednesday. “We are pleased to now also feature Melissa in front of the ‘Fashion Police’ cameras, as she joins returning panelists Giuliana and Brad. And with the added flavor of rotating panelists, the show will deliver fresh, different and unpredictable fashion reviews with each new episode.”
Rivers commented, “I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to continue to work with my E! and ‘Fashion Police’ family.”
The news follows a talent shakeup surrounding the fashion commentary show, after panelist Kelly Osbourne exited, only soon to be mirrored by host Kathy Griffin, who stepped in after Rivers‘ death.
Osbourne’s exit in February of this year came after a controversy on the show’s Oscars episode, in which Rancic made comments about Disney actress Zendaya‘s appearance, saying her dreadlocked hairstyle at the award show likely “smells like patchouli oil” or “weed,” which was understood by some to be racially insensitive, including the starlet, who fired back on social media. Since then, Rancic apologized, and Zendaya responded positively.
During a live telecast of “E! News,” the anchor said, “I want to apologize for a comment I made on last night’s ‘Fashion Police’ about Zendaya’s hair. As you know, ‘Fashion Police’ is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand that something I said last night did cross the line. I just want everyone to know, I didn’t intend to hurt anybody. But I’ve learned it’s not my intent that matters, it’s the result, and the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not OK. Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya, and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry. This really has been a learning experience for me.”
After Osbourne left, Griffin followed suit and abruptly departed the show with just seven episodes under her belt. She made her announcement on Twitter, citing body shaming as one of the reasons for her exit. She later admitted on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show that she “probably shouldn’t have taken the gig.”
“When I chose to step into the shoes of my beloved friend Joan Rivers at ‘Fashion Police,’ I was thrilled to continue her legacy as a woman being brash and eccentric on television,” Griffin tweeted in March. “I thought I could bring my brand of humor to ‘Fashion Police’ so that beautiful people in beautiful dresses could be teased when appropriate. My brand of humor, while unrepentant and unafraid, is all about context. There is plenty to make fun of in pop culture without bringing people’s bodies into it…I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference. I want to help women, gay kids, people of color and anyone who feels underrepresented to have a voice and a laugh.”
After both Osbourne’s and Griffin’s exits, much speculation arose regarding the series’ future, but the cabler announced “Fashion Police” would go on hiatus until September when the panel show would return with Rancic and Goreski for the next chapter.
Prior to working on “Fashion Police” together in front of and behind the camera, Rivers and her mother created E!’s red carpet franchise. The mother/daughter duo also starred in four seasons of their own reality show “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” on WEtv.
“Fashion Police” is produced by Wilshire Studios. Rivers and Lisa Bacon are exec producers.
“Fashion Police” premieres on E! on Monday, August 31.