This Talk Show Host Struggled to Book Guests: "A Lot of Celebrities Hate Her"
A new report just came out about how The Wendy Williams Show came to an unfortunate end.
The Wendy Williams Show was one of the most popular talk shows on TV during its 13 seasons on air. This was thanks in great part to the way host Wendy Williams didn't hold back when it came to her interviews with celebrity guests or her commentary on pop culture. But, because she didn't seem to see any questions as off-limits—and sometimes offended celebs and viewers—getting guests to agree to come on the show wasn't always easy, according to others who worked on it.
A new article in The Hollywood Reporter looks into the final days of The Wendy Williams Show, the last season of which did feature Williams, who was facing health issues, but instead was led by a series of guest hosts. A source close to the show told THR said that it was not only difficult to secure guest hosts because of the show's reputation, but that it had been a challenge to find guests willing to be interviewed by Williams as well. Read on to find out more about Williams' recent issues and the show's downfall.
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Many celebrities didn't want to appear on the show.
Lonnie Burstein, the executive vice president of programming at the show's production company, Debmar-Mercury, told The Hollywood Reporter that the show's bookers had their work cut out for them.
"Wendy comes with a stink to it," Burstein said about potential guest hosts for the final season turning down the job. "It's the same reason for the 12 years preceding we struggled to book guests. [Williams] was tough on many celebrities, and a lot of celebrities hate her. It's also why she had success, she's no holds barred. But even people who were interested in doing a talk show wanted no part of [hosting it]."
Some reportedly held a grudge about things Williams said on her radio show.
This isn't the first time there's been talk about celebrities swearing off The Wendy Williams Show. In 2019, the Daily Mail reported that sources from the show claimed that Williams returned to her "mean girl ways"—after showing a lighter side during the previous year—when her show was renewed for two more seasons.
One source told the publication, "There's always been a segment of Hollywood stars who would never come on Wendy's show. There are still a lot of big name Black stars in particular who made a vow a decade ago to never appear on her show based on things she said about them [during] her radio days. But just when we thought things would be easier for getting guests and engaging people who aren't just reality stars and B-players in sitcoms and movies, she's making it hard again."
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Williams has feuded with several stars.
Williams' comments have angered many celebrities and their fans over the years. For instance, as reported by E! News, Beyoncé fans were upset with the host after she said, "You know Beyoncé can't talk. Beyoncé sounds like she has a fifth-grade education," and joking that she needed closed captioning to understand her.
After Williams spoke negatively about Nicki Minaj's husband, Kenneth Petty, Minaj responded on her show Queen Radio (via E!), "It's not about doing your job. There are people who report the news and there are people who do it with an evil intent in their heart, viciousness. And I pray for you because I know you're hurting and I know you must be sick and humiliated." (Petty was convicted of the attempted rape of a 16-year-old girl in 1995 and, last year, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender.)
In 2019, Williams accused model Christie Brinkley of faking her arm injury on Dancing with the Stars. Brinkley responded on The Talk (via USA Today), "My message to Wendy is: It's so much more fun to be kind. Try it. It can't feel good to try to hurt other people. If it feels good, something's seriously wrong."
The show came to a sad end this year.
The Wendy Williams Show aired its final episode in June 2022. The last season did not feature Williams, who has been dealing with health issues including Graves' disease and lymphedema, as well as a complicated legal situation. The host has also been open about her struggles with substance abuse.
"It has been no secret that Wendy has battled with addiction over the years but at this time Wendy is on the road to recovery and healing herself from her chronic illnesses and her grievances of the past," her spokesperson told THR.
In an interview with TMZ in June, Williams said that she was thinking about starting a podcast and added, "I am 100 percent retired [from] The Wendy Williams Show, and I don't want to be on TV except for guest hosting."