The Wendy Williams Show will continue with guest hosts through the end of the season amid the 57-year-old broadcaster’s recovery. Williams stepped away from the spotlight last fall following her COVID-19 diagnosis and other health issues, with Shepherd, 54, initially filling in as a guest host in November 2021.
“OMG! I am so excited to have my dream come true and debut my very own talk show Sherri in the fall,” the Chicago native noted in a press release on Tuesday, February 22. “I can’t wait until I return to [New York] 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.”
Shepherd’s new series will continue Williams’ “Hot Topics” segment, putting a fresh spin on the popular recurring bit. The Daytime Emmy nominee was previously a panelist on The View from 2007 to 2014, making her the perfect addition to the daytime TV world.
“Sherri is a natural who proved her hosting skills for many years as a panelist on The View, on Fox’s Dish Nation and again this season as a popular guest host of Wendy,” Debmar-Mercury copresidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said in a statement of the transition. “Like our viewers, we have been impressed by the unique comedic twist Sherri puts on our daily live ‘Hot Topics’ segment, her creativity and interactions with our guests. Her love for the content and daytime fans is obvious, and we are excited to partner with her to create another long-term talk franchise.”
Marcus and Bernstein called the change in programming a “bittersweet” reality, adding, “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 dishing on ‘Hot Topics’ and interviewing celebrities. 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.”
Earlier this month, Us Weekly confirmed that the former radio DJ would not be returning to her hosting duties for the remainder of season 13. The Hold Me in Contempt author previously addressed concerns about her health via Instagram in November 2021 following the delayed premiere of her show.
“As everyone knows, my health has been a hot topic,” she wrote at the time. “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.”
Williams has been through plenty of ups and downs over the years, from her time in a sober living facility to her battle with Graves’ disease. As she continued her recovery last fall, she thanked fans for their constant support.
“I have heard your prayers and comments and feel all the love!” she wrote in November 2021. “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.”