Sherri Shepherd has officially been named as Wendy Williams’ daytime-TV replacement. The “Dish Nation” co-host and alum of “The View” has filled in for Williams as part of a rotating cast of guest hosts. She’ll now get her own talk show, starting in Fall 2022.
“Sherri,” which will tape in New York, will be distributed by Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury. It will take over the “Wendy Williams” time slot on Fox owned and operated stations. Shepherd will produce the show alongside Jawn Murray and showrunner David Perler.
Perler has been the “Wendy Williams” showrunner for the past dozen years, so he’ll fit right in. Williams has been away from TV since the summer dealing with health issues.
“OMG! I am so excited to have my dream come true and debut my very own talk show ‘Sherri’ in the fall. I can’t wait until I return to NY to host the show and merge everything I love…pop culture, talk, entertainment and comedy,” Shepherd said in a statement accompanying the news. “I am thankful to Debmar-Mercury and Fox for partnering with me on this show and look forward to this new journey.”
“Sherri is a natural who proved her hosting skills for many years as a panelist on ‘The View,’ on Fox’s ‘Dish Nation’ and again this season as a popular guest host of ‘Wendy,’” Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said in a joint statement of their own. “Like our viewers, we have been impressed by the unique comedic twist Sherri puts on our daily live ‘Hot Topics’ segment, her creativity and interactions with our guests. Her love for the content and daytime fans is obvious, and we are excited to partner with her to create another long-term talk franchise.”
Marcus and Bernstein called this a “bitter-sweet moment.”
“This is also a bitter-sweet moment for us and our partners at Fox,” the duo said. “We all have a great love and affinity for Wendy, who grew into a true icon during her 12 incredible seasons as the solo host of a live, daily talk show dishing on ‘Hot Topics’ and interviewing celebrities. Since Wendy is still not available to host the show as she continues on her road to recovery, we believe it is best for our fans, stations and advertising partners to start making this transition now. We hope to be able to work with Wendy again in the future, and continue to wish her a speedy and full recovery.”
“It’s been a challenging time for Wendy as she deals with her health issues. She is incredibly grateful to Debmar-Mercury, to Sherri and everybody else who has supported the show through this time,” Williams’ spokesperson said later in a statement provided to TheWrap. “
She, more than anyone, understands the reality of syndicated television — you can’t go to the marketplace and sell a show that’s ‘The Maybe Wendy Show,” the spokesperson continued. “She understands why this decision was made from a business point of view, and she has been assured by Debmar-Mercury that should her health get to a point where she can host again and should her desire be that she hosts again that she would be back on TV at that time.”