Late last month, Wendy Williams announced that she would be going on a three-week hiatus to take care of her health, particularly her issues with hyperthyroidism connected to Graves’ disease. And ever since going public with that information, the 53-year-old talk show host has been off the air while reruns have been broadcast in the meantime. But Williams has announced that while she rests, the show has decided to have a guest-host fill in for her. And no, it’s not a woman, nor is it anybody Black. It’s actor Jerry O’Connell.
“Jerry has been such a good friend to me and to the show,” she shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “We’re happy to welcome him as a guest host while I’m out getting much needed rest. Can’t wait to get back in my purple chair!”
We were actually thinking she might ask Tamar Braxton, who shared some emphatic well-wishes for the host as she prepared for her hiatus, and who is also supposed to be joining the talk show ranks soon.
.O’Connell actually was near the top in the running to take over as co-host of Live with Kelly! after Michael Strahan’s controversial departure. However, the seat next to Kelly Ripa was eventually given to Ryan Seacrest. With that being said, the actor has a good energy for hosting daytime television, and it doesn’t hurt that he does have a lot of love for Williams. When she announced her hiatus, O’Connell shared a message of support on Instagram:
But if you’re not thrilled at the first-ever Wendy Williams Show guest-host, you will be happy to know that she won’t be away much longer. With the announcement of O’Connell as her temporary replacement, Williams also shared that she would be back on air March 19.
Williams took a break per her doctor’s orders, and also after viewers began to notice she was having some health issues. That included fainting live on air during last year’s Halloween episode and the fact that her eyes seemed to be bulging out. As she would share, that was all connected to her Graves’ disease diagnosis.
“Now you know I have thyroid disease. My hyperthyroid is attached to Graves’ disease,” she said. “Graves’ disease squeezes the muscles behind your eyeballs. That’s the reason for [bugs eyes out].”
Whenever she comes back on-air, fans are hoping she will come back (at least close to) 100 percent. Until then, it’s rest in place of Hot Topics for Williams.