The end of an era is upon us. Shortly after shuttering its Master Control operations department in Los Angeles, E! has now canceled their longest running program. The Soup, a comedy series that skewers pop culture, is going to air its series finale on December 18th. This will bring the show to a close after spending 22 years on the air.
Current host Joel McHale will help celebrate the legacy he is leaving behind when the finale episode airs the same day that Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters. The long-standing cable staple was first launched on E! in 1991, but it was originally called Talk Soup. This early iteration of the program focused solely on clips from the various talk shows airing at that time. When it was revamped as The Soup in 2004, the show expanded its reach to all pop culture programing and also focused on viral videos and other odd things happening in the news.
The first run of Talk Soup introduced the world to host Greg Kinnear, who held down the ringleader position for four years, eventually leaving the program in 1995 to focus on his acting career. He would go onto become nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1998 for As Good As It Gets. The show has seen a number of hosts come and go, including John Henson (1995-1999), Hal Sparks (1999-2000) and Aisha Tyler (2001-2002). Joel McHale will stand as the fifth and final full-time host when the whole franchise says good-bye next month. There have been a number of other guest hosts that have held down the position from 1995 to now.
The Soup earned a 2014 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program. The cancelation comes only a year after E! announced that it had extended its deal with Joel McHale through 2016 to remain at the front of the show. The deal also allowed for Free Period Productions, the comedian's production company, to continue its production development arrangement, which gave E! first-look rights to all non-scripted series. This was the first major deal to close under new E! programming chief Jeff Olde. At the time the deal was signed, he had this to say about Joel McHale.
"[Joel McHale is] a valued fixture at the network for both his industry know-how and comic relief."
Here's what Joel McHale had to say for himself at the time the deal went through.
"I'm confident that I can keep up the same quality of humorous observation of shows like Naked Dating and Bad Girls Club Season 12 Reunion Part 2 that the American people age 18-49 have come to expect and deserve."
E! will continue producing new episodes of The Soup leading up to the December 18th finale. Over the past few years, the show has welcomed some big name guests as well as some desperate wannabe celebrities. As sighted by Deadline, the list includes: Norman Reedus, Yvette Nicole Brown, Patrick Warburton, Alison Brie, Seth Green, Lucy Lawless, Chris Hardwick, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, RuPaul, Steven Yeun, Joe Manganiello, Wendy Williams, Simon Pegg, Jon Cryer, Joe Jonas, Kal Penn, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Adam Scott, Aaron Paul, Gabourey Sidibe, Larry King, Kelly Ripa, Allison Janney, Adam DeVine, Johnny Weir, Danny Trejo, Jeff Probst, James Corden, Adam Pally, Jane Lynch, Marilyn Manson, Jon Heder, Tyra Banks, Martha Stewart, Nene Leaks, Nancy Grace, Zachary Quinto, George Takei, Chevy Chase, Sean Combs, Evan Rachel Wood, Eminem, Demi Lovato, Sarah Hyland, Jake Pavelka, Katey Sagal, Mayim Bialik, Katie Lee Gifford, Ana Gasteyer, Tyrese Gibson, Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Kylie Minogue, Kristin Davis, Shaquille O'Neal, Joan Rivers, Jack Black, Eli Roth, Busy Philipps, Jaime Pressly, Lea DeLaria, WWE Superstar The Miz ... and Carrot Top.
No plans have been announced for The Soup finale. And it's anybody's guess who might show up for this last episode. This is the second series Joel McHale has had to say good-bye to this year. The once-canceled NBC sitcom Community returned earlier this year on Yahoo with new episodes. But there are no plans to continue past Season 6. The mantra of that show has always been 6 Seasons and a Movie. Which might happen now that Joel McHale is washing his hands of his duties on The Soup.