‘The Wendy Williams’ show bids farewell without Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams had been absent from her namesake program since July 2021 due to health reasons

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After nearly 14 years on the air, The Wendy Williams Show came to an end on Friday with an emotional send-off from guest host Serri Shephard. 

Wendy Williams, the show’s namesake who has been sidelined since July 2021 due to health reasons, did not make an appearance for the final episode, despite telling Good Morning America earlier this year that she planned to return to her show “bigger and brighter than ever.”

The final episode featured a video tribute to the beloved “queen of all media.” Shepherd, who served as the main fill-in host for the 13th and final season, said at the top of the episode that it was an “honor and privilege” to be part of the program, calling it a “bittersweet moment.”

Sherri Shepherd Wendy Williamsthegrio.com
In this July 2014 photo, Sherri Shepherd (left) and Wendy Williams (right) pose for the cameras at Williams’ 50th birthday celebration at Out Hotel in New York City. (Photo: Rommel Demano/Getty Images)

“There is nobody like Wendy Williams,” Shepherd said, Los Angeles Times reports. “From her days on the radio to ruling daytime talk for 13 seasons, Wendy earned her title as the queen of all media.”

Shepherd will fill Williams’ time slot with her own talk show set to air this fall. 

“If you think about it, Wendy Williams changed daytime talk with her unique take, her one-of-a-kind celebrity interviews, the signature ‘Ask Wendy’ segments and of course, y’all, her famous ‘How you doin’?’ Absolutely,” she said. “And I wanna say, Miss Wendy, you are an icon and you are loved by so many, so many.”

Debmar-Mercury, the media company behind the daytime talk show, announced in February that the popular show would come to an end this year.

William’s ex-husband Kevin Hunter, who previously served as an executive producer on the show, said it was a “travesty” that Debmar-Mercury concluded the series without Williams. 

“It is the first time in the history of talk shows for this to be done, especially for a show that has been on for more than 10 years,” Hunter told Entertainment Tonight. “There is absolutely no reason why a bigger celebration that involved Wendy couldn’t happen.”

Williams’ hiatus was reportedly supposed to last about two months, but was extended due to her ongoing battle with Graves’ disease and a bout with COVID-19. In her absence, a slate of celebrities guest-hosted the show, including Michael Rapaport, Leah Remini, Fat Joe, Remy Ma and Bevy Smith among others. 

The final episode included a video tribute highlighting memorable moments from several of Williams’ notable celebrity interviews. At the end of the episode, the crew gathered on stage and signed off with Williams’ signature “How You Doin?” line along with the corresponding hand gesture. 

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