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With Wendy Williams ailing and Sherri Shepherd taking reins, show’s future in limbo

Separate head shots of Wendy Williams, left, and Sherri Shepherd
With Wendy Williams out sick for the bulk of her show’s current season, Sherri Shepherd will reportedly be named permanent guest host.
(Evan Agostini / Invision, left; Willy Sanjuan / Invision)
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Wendy Williams, who has been dealing with health issues during Season 13 of “The Wendy Williams Show,” won’t be back in her purple chair at all this season, The Times has confirmed. The future of the daytime talk show itself is less certain.

When Williams signed off at the end of Season 12 last July, she said she would see audiences again in “two months and two weeks.” But that hasn’t happened.

After a series of health-related delays, including Williams’ bout with COVID-19, the new season debuted in October with a variety of guest hosts, always with the assumption that Williams would be back soon.

Now it appears that the former radio personality — who has Graves’ disease, a thyroid-related autoimmune condition — is out for the season. The show’s producers made the decision.

The talk show host, now the subject of a Lifetime biopic and accompanying documentary, opens up about date rape, rehab and her ex-husband.

Jan. 29, 2021

Sherri Shepherd is taking the reins for the next few months, after sharing duties with other guest hosts such as Michael Rapaport, Leah Remini, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Kym Whitley, Finesse Mitchell, Devyn Simone, Julissa Bermudez, Bill Bellamy and Whitney Cummings.

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Bevy Smith and Terrence J will host next week, with former “The View” co-host Shepherd coming back the following week and staying through the end of the season. Williams, whose recovery is a day-by-day process, is said to be comfortable with the decision.

As far as what happens to the syndicated hit after that, “The Wendy Williams Show” could morph into a show starring Shepherd.

“We’ll deal with the fall when we get there, but she’s not returning this season,” a source close to Williams told Variety.

Publicist Howard Bragman, who represents Williams, had no comment Wednesday.

Daytime TV host Wendy Williams revealed on her Tuesday show that she has been living in a sober house “for some time now, and even today and beyond.”

March 19, 2019

Producers will be monitoring Williams’ health in coming months, TMZ reported, and if she’s good to go come September, the show will go on as usual. But if Williams is not up to it, Shepherd would take over the show as its permanent host, not its permanent guest host.

“HOW YOU DOIN’? I MISS YOU ALL!” Williams said in a statement posted to her Instagram in early November. “As everyone knows, my health has been a hot topic. I’m making progress but it’s just one of those things that’s taking longer than we expected. I’m a woman of a certain age, and I know enough to listen to my doctors and will return to my purple chair as soon as we all agree I’m ready.”

After Wendy Williams dissed Dionne Warwick, the singer reminded the TV host that there is no reason to speak Warwick’s name — or even think about her.

Dec. 10, 2020

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The 57-year-old thanked all the guest hosts for stepping in during her absence and gave a nod to her production company and the affiliated stations for being understanding and supportive.

“Most of all, I want to thank my fans,” she said. “I have heard your prayers and comments and feel all the love! You are everything to me.”

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