Along with the announcement that Queer Eye was renewed at Netflix for a ninth season, the show’s resident interior designer, Bobby Berk, announced that season eight, airing January 2024, would be his last.
Berk’s cast mates all commented on the post with supportive messages, but it was Karamo Brown, the lifestyle and quasi-social worker of the group, who paid the most tribute.
“I’m about to be [at] Netflix’s door & e-mails telling them you can’t leave! Who is coming with me?” Brown commented. He also posted a series of photos of Berk, which Berk commented on, saying, “I love YOU with all my heart. I wouldn’t have made it this long without you there with me.”
It’s these comments and recent public goings-on, like Brown revealing on the Andy Cohen Live radio show that he, Berk, and Jonathan Van Ness were not invited to Antoni Porowski’s bachelor party, but Tan France was, that have me suspicious. Berk had been a guest on the show prior to Brown’s apperance and was asked the same question, but diplomatically answered that he, Brown, and Van Ness simply “couldn’t make it” and France could, but Brown set the record straight, although he said he didn’t “take offense to it.”
Brown and Berk have always been clear friends, which is not to say there is necessarily a division in the group—they make a show together, they don’t have to be bosom buddies—but I wouldn’t be surprised if Berk felt a bit isolated from his castmates, at the very least because his role requires the most work. The rest of them are giving people makeovers and therapizing and he’s expected to do complete renovations of living spaces in three days. Compared to Porowski, who teaches the subject of the episode one easy recipe and then just gets to hang out, or France, who takes them shopping and shows them how to tuck in their shirt a little, the expectations of Berk are through the roof (literally). And based on Brown’s comment on Berk’s post, I wonder if Berk asked to be better compensated for his work and made the decision to move on when that request was denied.
I have a feeling that Berk’s exit will be the death knell for the current cast of the show. Van Ness is the other major breakout star, and they have so much else going on that allows them to use their own voice to express themself beyond hair care that I wouldn’t be surprised if they quit too.