‘Wendy Williams’ will end 13-year run June 17
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
“The Wendy Williams Show” will air its last new episode Friday, June 17, 2022.
Wendy Williams, the show’s namesake host, has been absent from the show since the beginning of the current season for health reasons.
Production company Debmar-Mercury has brought in a slate of guest hosts and panels to fill her spot and will continue to offer station partners with repeat episodes through the fall.
The 2021 Season 13 premiere of “Wendy” was delayed due to Williams’ health issues but eventually would start without her. “Wendy” typically runs into July as a way to stand out among other talkers, before taking its annual summer hiatus.
“Wendy” originally aired on Fox-owned stations for an eight-week trial in the summer of 2019 before going nationwide, as part of an overarching model Debmar-Mercury popularized as a way to test potential new TV show concepts.
Its host’s offbeat, often acerbic style and take on pop culture is widely credited with making it one of the most successful syndicated talk shows, often reaching over 1.6 million viewers per day on average. Prior to TV, Williams worked in radio.
Williams has lived with Grave’s Disease and thyroid issues for years and she has also been open about her battles with mental health and substance abuse, though the exact nature of her health issues was never revealed.
Williams has popped up on social media since the fall of 2021 and gave an audio-only interview to ABC News to discuss what she labeled as her apparent impending return to TV, but she is not slated to appear in person on June 17’s episode, though the show will feature a retrospective looking back at the show over the years and it would seem difficult to do that without including Williams.
Williams has slammed the move to end her show as “unauthorized” but did not provide concrete evidence of it being such given that she has been unavailable for the entire season.
“Wendy” had only been renewed through the end of its current season prior to her extended absence, though it’s not clear what her deal with Debmar-Mercury may have entailed beyond that.
However, it’s likely that the company was justified in canceling “Wendy” given that its host was either unwilling or unable to fulfill her duties and it, in turn, had obligations to the stations that carried the show as well as advertisers. Debmar-Mercury likely invests millions in the show’s budget each year.
Williams also had executive producer credit but reportedly has not been in the office or in regular contact with the staff for nearly a year.
Debmar-Mercury said publicly that it would welcome Williams back when her health improves, though Williams has projected a negative air toward most involved with her show, so it’s probably unlikely a revival of “Wendy” would occur anytime soon, at least under the current arrangement.
Williams could also be viewed as a liability for any other production company looking to revive her show since it would likely be putting up a significant investment to relaunch the show with a host who has been unable to appear for extended periods of time.
Meanwhile, there has been no word from Williams or her team about when she might resurface on TV in any form.
There have been rumblings that Williams was either aware her show was going to end or had grown tired of hosting it and was looking for a way out. Some staffers reported she had “checked out.”
There have also been unconfirmed reports that Williams wants to pursue an independent production option such as a podcast that could give her more freedom over content and a bigger chunk of any profits.
Sherri Shepard, one of the frequent and fan-favorite fill-ins for Williams is taking over the “Wendy” timeslot with her own, distinct talker in the fall of 2022 titled “Sherri.”
The new show will also be produced by Debmar-Mercury and take over Williams’ timeslot on most Fox-owned stations in major markets.
“Wendy” had aired live Monday through Thursday from Chelsea Studios in New York, with it being offered live to tape for markets that did not carry it as it aired. Friday episodes were typically taped Thursdays. “Sherri” will take over the space after the current run ends.
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