theGrio’s 100: Wendy Williams, the new queen of daytime TV

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Who is Wendy Williams?

Love her or hate her, talk show host Wendy Williams, 48, has been one of the most influential and infamous voices in media of the last decade. She became a brand (at least among audiences of color) because of her gossip-fueled radio show on WBLS, where she clashed with celebrities like Jay-Z, Lil Kim, Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston, just to name a few. Williams’ outspoken style certainly won her detractors, but she also gained legions of fans.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

Eventually Williams took her act to television and since the debut of The Wendy Williams Show in 2008, she has seen her stature grow and grow, especially in the wake of Oprah Winfrey’s departure from her signature talk show. The self-described “shock jockette” and veteran of Dancing with the Stars has filled a void for an audience starved for celebrity scandals and outrageous humor. While many African-Americans have tried to conquer the daytime talk show world and failed (Wayne Brady anyone?), Williams has defied the odds and only increased her following.

“Wendy Williams’ larger-than-life, proud Jersey persona, fake boobs, endless wigs and all, is the show. Frankly, her willingness to get messy is why her fans love her,” wrote theGrio’s Ronda Racha Penrice back in 2011.

What’s next for Williams?

Williams continues to make headlines with her brash accusations and insinuations about celebrities. She recently questioned pop star Beyoncé’s IQ and she has even taken on her past employers, calling out her former Hot 103 employers (currently Hot 97) for praising her radio delivery for being “white.” She is also reportedly teaming up with her fellow rabble-rouser Star Jones for film version of her memoir Satan’s Sisters, which is expected to premiere on VH1.

Williams has teamed up with the legendary Suzanne de Passe to create television and motion pictures under the Wendy Williams Presents banner. Satan’s Sisters will be the first project for their joint production venture.

“de Passe Jones Entertainment has a proven track record of success as it pertains to television movies and mini-series,” Williams said in a release. “This partnership makes great sense to Wendy Williams Productions and our entry into the world of filmed entertainment.”

And just this week, Williams inked a development deal with the Oxygen network to produce new programming, such as Secret Celebrity, a reality show “which features stars in disguise as they surprise unsuspecting fans, friends and family,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Follow Wendy Williams on Twitter @WendyWilliams.