The demise of The Wendy Williams Show was hard for Wendy watchers to see. Now, what was happening behind the scenes has been revealed.
Wendy Williams has always been open about her struggles with remaining sober. In 2018, she revealed she was living in a sober living facility. But after that, there were still concerns about her sobriety. An inside source told The Hollywood Reporter said that on set staff would “find bottles [of alcohol] up in the ceiling tiles and other weird places in the office.” Executives questioned if Williams was still sober on “at least 25” different occasions during a four-year period.
There were a series of delays regarding the 13th season due to Williams’ health issues. But after a while, Williams went missing. Execs couldn’t get in touch with her. Producers and other anonymous insiders told the outlet when they would call her she wouldn’t answer. When Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein tried to get Williams to get medical clearance from her doctors in order for her to return to her purple chair, it wasn’t submitted.
“We said, ‘Wendy, we need to have a diagnosis from a doctor — whether it’s the TV stations or a network or a new producer, anyone who’s going to do business with you, after you didn’t show up for a year, needs to know that you’re OK. [Without that assurance,] no one’s going to risk money or finance things’,” Marcus said.
After not hearing from her or getting the necessary medical clearances, it was announced that the show would be cancelled after 12 years. Marcus had to explain to Williams on many occasions that the show was no more.
“She said, ‘Well, what’s going to air at 10 o’clock?’ I told her, ‘Sherri’s going to air at 10 o’clock.’ ‘So, can I go on at 11?’ I said, ‘We’d love to work with you, and there are lots of ways and lots of buyers, but you need to come back, and we need to know that you’re OK. You can’t just call after nine months and say, ‘I’m ready.’
The day before the last episode, which she wasn’t a part of, she and Marcus had the difficult conversation again.
Williams wasn’t involved in the final episode due to her not doing well and out of consideration for Shepherd, whose new show will take over the 10 a.m slot this fall.
Debmar-Mercury’s executive VP of programming Lonnie Burstein said it “would have been incredibly awkward” if Williams was there.
There was also a lot of backlash about the show’s YouTube channel being taken down. Debmar0-Mercury’s senior VP Adam Lewis said it was due to “rights and clearance issues.”
It’s well known that Williams has Graves’ disease but there have been unconfirmed reports of her having dementia. Executives and staff members have seen symptoms of brain fog, memory loss, bizarre behavior and non-linear speech. The cause behind these symptoms still isn’t clear.
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