It’s unimaginable: the end of an era has arrived. The Wendy Williams Show has been on the air for 14 years, but it’s all over now. Distributor Debmar-Mercury made the announcement this week, and fans have been reeling as they come to terms with the fact that their beloved Wendy Williams won’t be returning to her show. But never fear; there are already plans in the works to replace the show with something equally spectacular. Enter: Sherri Shepherd.
Wendy Williams – Out
How did it come to this? After 14 years and more than her fair share of controversy, Williams is going off the air. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a decision made lovingly in time because she felt that it was time to move on; Williams is not doing so well. Williams has been sidelined much of the last season by a combination of complications from COVID-19 and a disease she suffers from known as Graves Disease. Graves Disease affects the thyroid and can make it harder for people to fight off infections like COVID-19. But even without the addition of the pandemic virus, Graves Disease can be devastating – Williams once fainted live on air and had to take a leave of absence to focus on her health in 2017. Williams has been absent from her host duties since the show returned for the Fall season in October. Guest hosts such as Shepherd, Michael Rapaport and Kym Whitley among others have filled in for her absence.
The Washington Post shares via MSN, “Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein called the change ‘a bitter-sweet moment for us and our partners at Fox. We all have a great love and affinity for Wendy, who grew into a true icon during her 12 incredible seasons as the solo host of a live, daily talk show.’ In a statement, they explained their reasoning for the permanent move: ‘Since Wendy is still not available to host the show as she continues on her road to recovery, we believe it is best for our fans, stations and advertising partners to start making this transition now. We hope to be able to work with Wendy again in the future, and continue to wish her a speedy and full recovery.’”
Concerns have also been raised in recent months about Williams’ mental health, although her attorney insists that there are “no concerns.”
Sherri Shepherd – In
Williams’ departure from the talk show world leaves a huge hole in the lineup, but it won’t be empty long. Shepherd, who often guest hosted Williams’ show over the past season and who was a former co-host of popular roundtable talk show The View, is perfectly poised to take the spot with a talk show of her own.
Shepherd released a statement about the new show, sharing per PEOPLE, “OMG! I am so excited to have my dream come true and debut my very own talk show SHERRI in the fall.” Shepherd adds, “I can’t wait until I return to NY to host the show and merge everything I love…pop culture, talk, entertainment and comedy. I am thankful to Debmar-Mercury and FOX for partnering with me on this show and look forward to this new journey.”
Picking Shepherd isn’t just happenstance – she consistently pulled in the highest ratings of any guest host during Williams’ absence, making her a natural choice to replace the controversial show host.
Controversy Over the Years
Williams started her show biz career on the radio, working as a “shock jock.” That tendency to stir controversy has followed her throughout her career. Once she moved to television and began hosting The Wendy Williams Show, it was clear that the host was not going to hold back. Williams shared frank and openly about her life, including her brush with drug addiction, relationships and more.
That honesty endeared her to fans, and set critics up in firm opposition to her blunt ways. The controversies spun out of control in 2018, when Williams famously said she was “sick” of the #MeToo movement, aimed at holding rapists and sexual predators accountable. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what is Williams’ honest opinion and what is her tendency to pick the path less traveled, but it all amounts to a show that can be a wild ride.
Williams’ show ending is a bittersweet moment for fans who are worried about her health and eager to see her care for herself, but sad that their decade-and-a-half favorite is going off the air.
Shepherd has an honest and open style of her own but lacks Williams’ controversial sledgehammer style. It will be a different show for sure, but no less entertaining.