This is nice for A-list actors who prefer to promote films without so much hoopla and personal talk. Emma Stone, for example, appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” in November without mentioning her pregnancy, still rumored at the time, once; most viewers probably didn’t even notice, as she was filmed only from the chest up.
But for influencers and celebrities who rely on constant exposure to maintain relevance — and that’s pretty much everyone except Oscar winners like Ms. Stone — the virtual talk show is not cutting it.
Lindsay Glickstein, a talent manager and publicist whose clients include “Real Housewives” stars and other reality staples, said the virtual talk show experience makes it more difficult to guide her clients through difficult conversations on-air. Before the pandemic, she would travel to meet them for appearances in New York or Los Angeles. “When you are there, you can stop things,” she said. Now, she has to prep her stars in advance, and “it’s not always easy to remember everything me or someone else tells them.”
Even the hosts are struggling. Two weeks ago, “The Talk” announced it was going on hiatus after one of its hosts, Sharon Osbourne, broke down on camera when discussing her friend Piers Morgan’s criticism of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. “I feel even like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist,” Ms. Osbourne said on the show. “How can I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?”
Shortly afterward, Holly Robinson Peete, a former host of the show, accused Ms. Osbourne of calling her “too ghetto” to host “The Talk.” Yashar Ali, a journalist, followed that up with a report that Ms. Osbourne also made racist comments about Julie Chen and homophobic comments about Sara Gilbert, both of whom are former hosts. Ms. Osbourne denied the claims in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” calling herself a “sacrificial lamb.”
So what can celebrities do when they want to promote a project or simply themselves? “Your options are limited,” said Judy Smith, a crisis management expert who has worked with Monica Lewinsky, Angelina Jolie and who served as the inspiration for the Olivia Pope character on “Scandal.”