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It's the end of an era. After 13 years on FOX, The Wendy Williams Show is coming to an end as Wendy Williams focuses on her health. In a new statement to People, Williams’ rep Howard Bragman gave an update on Williams’ health and revealed that Sherri Shepherd will take over the star's time slot with her own show on FOX.
“It’s been a challenging time for Wendy as she deals with her health issues,” he said. “She, more than anyone, understands the reality of syndicated television—you can’t go to the marketplace and sell a show that's the ‘Maybe Wendy Show.’”
Bragman said that Williams hopes to return in the future. “She understands why this decision was made from a business point of view, and she has been assured by Debmar-Mercury that should her health get to a point where she can host again and should her desire be that she hosts again that she would be back on TV at that time,” he continued.
Williams took to Instagram to congratulate Shepherd on her new role. “Join us in congratulating our friend @sherrieshepherd on her new daytime talk show, premiering this fall,” Williams wrote alongside a video of Shepherd sharing the news.
Why is Wendy Williams not on her show?
According to Williams rep, the star’s been dealing with “challenging health issues” that have caused her to take a step back from The Wendy Williams Show. Williams previously opened up about being diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and she's taken extended breaks from her show in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The star also suffers from lymphedema, which is swelling due to a build-up of lymph fluid in the body, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While season 13 of The Wendy Williams Show was set to air in fall 2021, Williams decided to cancel all public appearances promoting her show in September. One month later, she shared that she was diagnosed with COVID-19, and that she was officially postponing the new season due to “ongoing medical issues.”
In an October update, the show’s team gave some rare details about Williams’ condition. “She is making progress but is experiencing serious complications as a direct result of Graves’ disease and her thyroid condition,” the statement said. “It has been determined that more time is needed before she is able to return to her live hosting duties.”
In December, The Wendy Williams Show announced that Williams would not be returning as host in January. Her last official communication with fans was in a November 8 Instagram post that explained her ongoing health concerns: “HOW YOU DOIN’?” Williams wrote. “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.”
In a recent video posted to her new personal Instagram account, Williams gave fans an update on her health. While taking a beach stroll with her son Kevin Hunter Jr., Williams said she was “doing ok” as she takes some time to be with family in Florida.
In the video, the TV personality shared that her days in Florida are much slower-paced than the hustle and bustle of New York City, and she has been focusing on her health and spending time with family. The star even had plans to hit the gym later that day. “I am going back stronger,” she said. “I want to be all I can be and then get back to New York and get on down to The Wendy Williams Show.”
One week later, Williams announced she’d be taking a permanent step back to focus on her health. The 57-year-old’s rep said Williams “understands” why recent decisions were made, but she hopes to return to the purple chair soon.
So, who is replacing Wendy Williams?
Throughout February, guest hosts have helmed The Wendy Williams Show as Williams deals with ongoing health concerns. The show has aired without Williams since October 2021, with fan-favorite guest hosts including Michael Rapaport, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Bevy Smith, Terrence J, and Sherri Shepherd filling in.
After much speculation about the show’s future, a new Instagram post on the official Wendy Williams Show account on Tuesday announced that Shepherd will be taking over Williams’ time slot on FOX with her own daytime show. On her personal Instagram account, Shepherd also announced the news and said she’s long dreamed of having her own TV show. “Thank you everyone for making this dream of hosting my own talk show come true!” she said.
Fans have mixed feelings about the news. Williams’ followers are sad to see the longtime host leave the purple chair after 13 years, writing on Instagram that they're “going to miss Wendy” and that it’s “an end of era.” Others congratulated Shepherd, writing that her new role is “so well deserved.”
Will Wendy Williams return to TV?
Is it really the end of daytime TV for Williams? Although the Emmy award-winning host “won’t be returning” to the purple chair for “the rest of the season,” her rep Bragman said she hopes to get healthy enough to return to TV in the future.
Williams’ bosses Debmar-Mercury, Mort Marcus, and Ira Bernstein are also in full support of her eventual return, according to a joint statement shared to People.
“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,” they said. “We hope to be able to work with Wendy again in the future, and continue to wish her a speedy and full recovery.”
You can catch Shepherd’s new talk show this fall on FOX, and in the meantime, The Wendy Williams Show will continue to air with a number of guest hosts.
In a November Instagram, Williams thanked her fans for all of their love and support throughout her health journey. “I have heard your prayers and comments and feel all the love!” Williams said. “You are everything to me. I love spending my mornings with you all and I’m doing everything I can to get back to work, but right now Wendy has to focus on Wendy. I love you for watching.”
With any luck, we’ll be watching Williams again soon.
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