‘Wendy Williams Show’ set to return on twice delayed debut date, but without Williams

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Daytime talk show “The Wendy Williams Show” will return with new episodes on its now twice postponed Season 13 — but without its namesake host.

The show announced Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, that Williams will not be returning as host Oct. 18, 2021 but will instead feature “an exiting lineup of guest hosts and panels.”

The show did not announce who would take over hosting and panel duties. Two people who have filled in for her in the past, Nick Cannon and Jerry O’Connell, both have since moved on to ink talk show deals themselves.

The show was originally supposed to return for its 13th season Sept. 20, 2021. That was pushed to Oct. 4, 2021, due to unspecified health issues, which included a breakthrough COVID-19 case, which would likely have prevented her from working under union safety protocols.

Wendy Williams was reportedly taken to the hospital Sept. 14, 2021, over mental health concerns. She also canceled promotional appearances ahead of the new season.

The debut was pushed again to Oct. 18, 2021, again due to health concerns, though the show did note that she was no longer positive for COVID-19.

Production company Debmar-Mercury released a statement on Facebook about the Season 13 premiere that would proceed without Williams.

“Wendy continues to be under medical supervision and meets with her medical team on a daily basis. She is making progress but is experiencing serious complications as a direct result of Graves’ Disease and her thyroid condition. It has been determined that more time is needed before she is able to return to her live hosting duties,” it read in part, pointedly calling out two medical issues but not mentioning mental health or substance abuse issues, both of which Williams has openly discussed in the past.

“Wendy is a valued and stalwart member of the Debmar-Mercury family and has been so for 12 years. We want her health to be her top priority. As soon as she’s ready, she will be back in her treasured purple chair,” the statement continued.

Williams’ talk show is arguably one of Debmar-Mercury’s more prominent shows, though it also launched “Nick Cannon” this season.

Both shows appears on most Fox owned stations in major markets.

The company also distributes “Family Feud” and “Schitt’s Creek” reruns, while also having a hand in production or distribution in other programs.

“Cannon” has been mentioned as a possible replacement as production execs are reportedly preparing contingency plans if Williams does not return to host.

Williams’ show was previously renewed through the end of the current season, but no plans for a potential Season 14 and beyond have been announced.

Debmar-Mercury was likely facing pressure from stations who pay fees in exchange for the rights to air the show in a select market.

The goal is to make that money back — and then some — by selling advertising during the show. Well rated syndicated shows can also play a key role in “lead ins” to local news or other programming, which in turn can generate more profits.

Most talk shows air repeats at select, predetermined times during the years, typically around holidays, and these airings typically don’t perform as well, but stations can plan for that.

Williams’ show is highly timely as it focuses heavily on current events and pop culture news of the moment, making it less relevant in rerun form.