It's fitting that Melissa Rivers's first public appearance since the sudden passing of her mother, Joan Rivers, was on Fashion Police, the show fueled by the late comedian's edgy sense of humor. Perched on a chair alongside co-hosts Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic, and George Kotsiopoulos, Melissa looked remarkably polished and poised during the taping of the Fashion Police: Celebrating Joan special, which airs Friday night.
"She affected so many people, and people you would never expect to have humor," Melissa, who serves as an executive producer of the show, mused of her late mother, who died Sept. 4. Like whom, you might ask? Oh, just the leader of the free world, for one.
"I received a letter from the White House, from President Obama," Melissa revealed. "Someone who was often a target of her jokes, as was Mrs. Obama, but I received a handwritten note saying, 'Not only did she make us laugh; she made us think.'"
Now that Joan is gone, however, execs are being forced to think about the future of the show she helped make a hit.
"They are looking at different scenarios, whether it moves forward or it doesn't," Rancic told ABC News. "A lot of that will be up to [Melissa] and how she's feeling and how she decides what she wants to do, along with the execs here at E!." That said, it sounds like they haven't made any decisions just yet. "They are seeing what Fashion Police looks like without Joan," she added.
Even Rancic isn't sure how she feels about continuing on without the comedian extraordinaire.
"A part of me is like, Joan would want Melissa and us and the team to go on and I know she would," Rancic mused before adding, "But it's just a matter of can there be a show without Joan? Do we want to do a Fashion Police without Joan? I don't know."
We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for the red carpet snarkfest, but one thing is certain: No matter what the execs decide to do, Fashion Police will never look the same.
Update 2:20 p.m. PT: In a statement Friday afternoon, E! announced that Fashion Police would indeed continue on sans Joan Rivers:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joan Rivers and, for the last two weeks, have turned our attention to honoring her memory on all of our platforms. We have also thought long and hard about what Joan would have wanted as it pertains to the future of Fashion Police. We decided, with Melissa Rivers’ blessing, that Joan would have wanted the franchise to continue. Fashion Police will return in 2015 commencing with Golden Globes coverage on Monday, January 12. No further details will be announced at this time.
[Originally published Sept. 19, 2014 at 7:23 a.m. PT]