Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb appeared together on their eponymous 98.5 The Sports Hub morning program Tuesday for the first time in over a month, only vaguely acknowledging their recent interpersonal drama that seemed to threaten the highly rated show’s future.
The “Toucher and Rich” hosts’ humor was intact from the beginning of the 6-10 a.m. show, with both joking with third voice Jon Wallach about a couple of matters.
Toucher brought up the public and media response to the show’s recent circumstances a few minutes into the program, noting that a friend who was in town had mentioned some comments written on a messageboard about what might be going on.
“People are writing fan fiction about you guys, like they’re inventing lives around you that don’t really exist,’’ said Toucher, relaying what his friend had said.
“Which in kind of a weird way is somewhat flattering,’’ said Shertenlieb.
Without addressing what they may have disagreed about and how it was resolved, both hosts expressed surprise at the amount of coverage the show’s status received last week.
“You’d think that, like, one of us had gotten in an accident where we’d killed eight people,” said Toucher.
“It is nice that people care,” said Shertenlieb. “That is wild. If that was all gone, then you realize that, well, maybe the career isn’t doing so hot. But the fact that people are this invested is pretty cool. I have to be honest, that part of it is pretty awesome.”
A minute or two later, they set aside the topic of themselves. The show from that point forward sounded like a typical “Toucher and Rich” program, with frequent humor and interaction between the hosts.
The tension between the hosts percolated over the last few months. Toucher was dealing with a throat problem that greatly affected his voice, causing him to miss several shows.
On April 10, he took a leave of absence to receive treatment. During his absence, Toucher on multiple occasions Tweeted that Shertenlieb and Wallach didn’t reach out to him during his absence.
On May 5, he tweeted that his previous comments weren’t true and Shertenlieb had even offered to connect him with doctors at Dana Farber. He reiterated that when he returned to the program last Thursday.
But Shertenlieb wasn’t there. He took sick days Thursday and Friday, then worked this Monday while Toucher was taking a scheduled day off.
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Shertenlieb was livid at Toucher, and in a meeting with management last Wednesday accused his longtime cohost of creating a hostile work environment.
There were fears at the station after that meeting that the hosts, whose show had a massive 25.6 share in the most recent ratings book, would not work together again.
Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.