When it came to relocating “The Kelly Clarkson Show” from its Los Angeles set to filming Season 5 at NBC Studios in 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Kelly Clarkson said Friday that it was “100 percent my idea” and that she gave her talk show team a reluctant ultimatum “through tears”: “Either I’m not going to be able to continue with the show, or I got to go East Coast.”
Speaking with Nancy O’Dell on TalkShopLive, Clarkson recounted laying out what she needed in order to continue with “The Kelly Clarkson Show” back in January.
“I even talked to my crew back in January through tears, ’cause I have built such an amazing group of people,” she said. “Obviously we’ve been very successful and I love everybody I work with and we have such great relationships. So I talked to them because I was like, ‘Guys, I need you to know what’s happening: It’s either I’m not going to be able to continue with the show, or I got to go East Coast.’”
She added that when presented with the proposition, “NBC backed me.”
“There was just hurdle after hurdle with things. And I was like, you know what? I gotta go East Coast. I actually told my crew that awhile back and wanted to give them a heads up, but also, I have had such a great experience with all these people and these relationships,” she said. “So, you know, it kind of sucks to uproot it and move it, but that was 100% my idea, and it was really cool that NBC backed me because I was like, ‘Y’all, I love doing this show, I really do. I didn’t even know I would. But I gotta make a change for me and my family.”
A statement from the network when news of the move broke in May indicated that the relocation also came as a result of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul expanding the state’s film tax credit, which “now provides an incentive to eligible television series that relocate to New York.” An exclusive from Variety in January first reported that “sources close to the show say Clarkson asked NBCU to explore the move out of Los Angeles,” which the singer appeared to confirm Friday.
Sitting with TalkShopLive, Clarkson talked about how the isolation at the height of COVID highlighted how far she was from her family in North Carolina and that the move would provide opportunities for a new start and put her in closer proximity to them. “They’re like an hour flight away, so that was really the main reason,” she said.
“There was a lot of personal things going on, too, where I feel like our family, me and my kids really needed a fresh start, and I just could not get it here [in Los Angeles],” she continued, nodding to her divorce from Brandon Blackstock.
Shortly after the May 8 announcement of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” moving, a Rolling Stone report cited multiple sources that described a toxic work environment on set, accusations that the host has since addressed. “To find out that anyone is feeling unheard and or disrespected on this show is unacceptable,” she said, adding that production is implementing leadership training for all senior staff. NBCUniversal also refuted the allegations, saying in a statement, “We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue.”
Speaking with TalkShopLive, Clarkson further emphasized that she’s prioritizing a “healthy and fun” work environment with the talk show’s relocation to New York.
“For the most part, I’m getting my show settled and we’re establishing an amazing crew, we’re figuring stuff out, you know, on the inside, obviously, and we’re figuring it out to where we’re going to have a great time and a great workplace,” she said. “I also told NBC this, too, before I even started working on this show: ‘Look, I’m getting too old to work in an environment that isn’t healthy and fun.’ I was like, ‘I had to do that for years in meetings and working with really incredibly mean people sometimes.’ So I just didn’t want to do that anymore.”
Watch Clarkson’s full interview with TalkShopLive here.