‘The Wendy Williams Show’ Insiders Reveal That Wendy Appeared Incoherent During Staff Meeting + Concerns About Her Sobriety Raised After Staffers Found Liquor Bottles Hidden In Her Office
Wendy Williams‘ former manager and colleagues are speaking out about the final months of the Wendy Williams Show!
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, production distributor Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus revealed that they had multiple conversations with Wendy Williams amid her unexpected and prolonged absence from the show’s 13th season, and had to tell her several times that the show was ending.
Apparently, the former talk show host did not know that her long-running talk show had been canceled, despite repeated communication that her time at the head of the program had come to an end following a months-long back-and-forth over health issues and rumored substance abuse. Recalling a conversation had with Williams, Bernstein said:
“I said, ‘We haven’t heard from you, and we had to make a decision.’ We should have made one in November, but we pushed it to January or February, and by then, it was like, ‘Make a decision or lose the time period.'”
When they confirmed in February that the show would end after 13 seasons, Williams reportedly reached out to ask why. Bernstein explained,
“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 okay. You can’t just call after nine months and say, ‘I’m ready.'”
According to Bernstein and Marcus,
“a version of this conversation would take place several more times over the next four months,”
including multiple phone calls with both co-presidents, as well as a sit-down lunch in Manhattan.
“Each time, Williams appeared to be having the discussion for the first time.”
Reportedly, these exchanges took place in the midst of Wendy Williams’ ongoing illnesses which included Graves’ disease and lymphedema.
In the interview, Mort Marcus added that eventually, they 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.'”
As The Wendy Williams Show finale quickly approached, Wendy Williams spoke out on social media, saying that she never agreed to end the show. However, Williams’ new manager William Selby told sources that the host’s ailing health contributed to the misunderstanding. He explained,
“No matter how many people could have told her—you could have told her, I could have told her—she’s thinking, ‘I’ll be ready in a week and I’m coming to shoot.'” So, [the finale] kind of happened all of a sudden for her, even though it was unraveling before her eyes.”
Other reports from the interview include an anonymous insider who told sources that there was a planned Zoom meeting for 50 program staffers in September 2021 that had to be cut short after about three minutes, as they suggested Wendy Williams was “starting not to be coherent” during the talk. They also said staffers would,
“find bottles [of alcohol] up in the ceiling tiles and other weird places in the office.”
Two more insiders alleged that staff members had also sent text messages to higher-ups, questioning Williams’ sobriety. Thos same higher-ups reportedly had to screen episodes of the show prior to air time to make sure the host was fit for air. One episode, in the spring of 2021, allegedly did not air after this process, and was replaced with a repeat.
As previously reported, The Wendy Williams Show ended on Friday (June 17) with Sherri Shepherd presenting a highlight reel of moments from the program’s run with Wendy Williams. In the finale episode, Sherri said,
“Most of all, we have to thank you, Wendy Williams. There is nobody like Wendy Williams. From her days on the radio to ruling daytime talk for 13 seasons, Wendy earned her title as the queen of all media. If you think about it, Wendy Williams changed daytime talk.”
Sherri Shepherd, who served as a frequent guest host on season 13 of The Wendy Williams Show, is due to take over the timeslot this fall with her talk show Sherri.