When fans of the series Lucky Dog tuned into the CBS series in January 2021, they were in for a huge shock. That's because beloved host, Brandon McMillan — whom viewers have watched transform dozens of "unadoptable" shelter dogs into loving, well-behaved companions — was nowhere to be found.
So who are the new hosts of Lucky Dog? And what happened to Brandon? Let's take a closer look.
What happened to Brandon McMillan on 'Lucky Dog'?
On Jan. 2, 2021, Season 8 of Lucky Dog debuted without Brandon. Although his absence caught many viewers off-guard, Brandon had actually announced his departure from the show back in October 2020.
"As the years went on big money started pouring into the show which meant more cooks in the kitchen making decisions. This is where Hollywood can take a great idea and turn it into a money driven business," he explained via Instagram. "When the fun gets taken out of a tv show then it's no longer fun to show up. Today will be my final episode of Lucky Dog."
Brandon continued, "I always made it a point to wear my heart on my sleeve and not hold back my emotions. Being as real as I possibly can was the most important thing for me because you the viewers know acting from reality. This was a serious show that saved the lives of hundreds of dogs. Mission accomplished. But this is not the end ... it's just the beginning."
Meet the new hosts of 'Lucky Dog': Eric and Rashi Wiese.
The new hosts of Lucky Dog have some seriously big shoes to fill — but it looks like the husband-wife team of Eric Wiese and Rashi Khanna Wiese are up for the challenge. On paper, at least, they seem pretty solid.
Eric is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), according to a news release from CBS.
His passion for dog training began at age 15, when he started volunteering at a local boarding kennel in St. Louis, Mo. From there, Eric went on to study animal behavior, devoting himself to "shedding light on a more positive, humane and scientific way to train dogs," per the news release.
The new Lucky Dog host has since devoted his time to rehabilitating dogs in need at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue in Los Angeles.
"As a foster parent, he found great joy helping dogs that displayed fearful and/or aggressive behavior to improve their temperament so they could be placed in welcoming homes," according to the release.
Meanwhile, Rashi holds a degree in psychology and a master's degree in social work. She and Eric met back in 2014, after which she began learning about positive reinforcement training methods he uses with dogs.
"She discovered that the logic behind these methods were similar to those she learned throughout her studies and became fascinated with dog psychology and how it could be applied to human psychology," CBS shared of Rashi in the news release. "She then decided to combine her passions for human and canine behavior and work with Eric."
Brandon McMillan urged fans to give the new 'Lucky Dog' hosts a chance.
When it comes to their favorite TV shows, people don't genearlly like change. This was abundantly clear, based on viewers' reactions following the debut of Season 8 of Lucky Dogs.
Oh god they changed the host of lucky dog 😱— SamCelery (@CelerySam) January 2, 2021
@CBS Hey the new host of Lucky Dog sucks. Bring back Brandon!— Tony Tupy (@RealTonyTupy) January 2, 2021
Well CBS, the people have spoken. What you going to do?— Devin Layne (@DevinLayneBlog) January 3, 2021
In 2015, McMillan won the Daytime Emmy Award for "Best Host in a Lifestyle Series" for "Lucky Dog". In 2016 "Lucky Dog" won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Series. In 2018 he won another Daytime Emmy.
It didn't take long for Brandon to speak up about the reactions surrounding Lucky Dog's new hosts.
“Let me just start by saying to go easy on the new hosts. I don’t know who they are but it’s not their fault. They were offered an opportunity and took it. Anyone would have done the same," he wrote via Instagram. "One of the main complaints you all seemed to have today was how you think the show is just a carbon copy rip off of what myself and a few others started from the ground up."
Brandon continued, “Another complaint you all have is how you said it now seems less about the dogs and more about product placement constantly selling you something. Well after working in the entertainment business since I was 19 years old I’ve learned one vital thing … the viewers are not stupid. They’re smarter than Hollywood producers think. Authenticity is everything when making reality tv so either be authentic and original or don’t be on tv.”
Hopefully, Lucky Dog viewers will give the show's new hosts a fair chance to prove themselves. Because Eric and Rashi definitely seem passionate about rescuing and rehabilitating dogs; they just need more time to win over Brandon's devoted following.
Watch Lucky Dog weekends on CBS.