Jason Kennedy, ‘In the Room’ and more: How COVID is killing E!
COVID-19 was responsible for killing a ton of industries, but is TV one of them? Streaming had a moment thanks to everyone being stuck inside with nothing to do, but what about basic cable, specifically, interview shows?
Jason Kennedy seems to feel that way, and after over fifteen years at E! under his belt, the popular cable entertainment network, the host of the popular show In The Room is calling it quits.
Jason Kennedy told Page Six: “I’ve had the time of my life at E!. Most recently, I loved being the host of ‘In the Room,’ but COVID made it impossible to capture interviews with celebrities in a more personal setting, so I have decided to pursue new opportunities.”
So has COVID killed celebrity interviews? Surely not, but has it killed the cozy atmosphere of in-person interviews we knew & loved for so many years? Let’s take a look.
— Jason Kennedy (@JasonKennedy1) March 1, 2021
Who is Jason Kennedy?
In 2005, Jason Kennedy began working at E! He worked weekends as a reporter before coming on to E! News to report the latest entertainment happenings alongside Giuliana Rancic. Many on Twitter who wished Jason well after the sad news broke called him “the face of E!” and remarked how they’d miss him.
Jason Kennedy also hosted In The Room. Billed as an “unfiltered, no-holds-barred” celebrity interview show, Kennedy hosted several guests on the show, including Kourtney Kardashian and One Tree Hill’s Robert Buckley.
In The Room
When In The Room aired in 2019, E! billed it as “take viewers inside celebrity homes for in-depth interviews and conversation around their latest projects, products, passions and more. The series will air several primetime specials before its full launch in early 2020.”
2020 came, and so did COVID. Rather than visiting his celebrity guests in their mansions, Jason Kennedy ended having Zoom conference after Zoom conference with Hollywood’s elite, adding to his claim that In The Room wasn’t as personable as he hoped it would be.
However, some segments were personal, if not socially distanced. In June, Jason Kennedy got to go crawfishing with Chef Gordon Ramsey on one segment of the show. The segment also featured a look at the upcoming season of Ramsay’s show Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, which E! explained: “follows Gordon as he embarks on a global expedition in search of culinary inspiration, epic adventures and cultural experiences.”
NBC pulls the plug
However, summer 2020 wasn’t a happy one for Jason Kennedy or E! Parent company NBC announced it was putting the brakes on In The Room, laying off fifty staff members and canceling the show following a “massive restructuring”.
NBC was also pulling the plug on E! News, Jason Kennedy’s home for fifteen years. NBC didn’t give a statement to Page Six, they reportedly planned to cut three percent of NBC News employees. Per Page Six, NBC has been “struggling since the beginning of the pandemic”.
Jason Kennedy also isn’t the only departure from E! Ryan Seacrest also left his show E!’s Live From the Red Carpet, which he hosted for over fourteen years.
What’s Jason Kennedy up to now?
Does this mean Jason Kennedy’s completely out of work? Not exactly. He & E! News co-host Giuliana Rancic started a podcast & video show for aspiring journalists called Own The Spotlight. Their program offers courses for people looking to break into entertainment but who may struggle with confidence or public speaking.
On the personal side of things, Page Six reported that in January, Jason Kennedy and his wife Lauren Scruggs announced they were beginning IVF treatments to start a family, telling fans they had been trying to conceive for a “long time”.
Do you think COVID-19 killed personal celebrity interviews? Will you miss E! News? Let us know in the comments!