Wendy Williams was looking for an experienced daytime TV producer — and boy, did she find one.
“The Wendy Williams Show” has hired Jennifer Brookman to run the controversial topics segments on the syndicated daytime talk show, according to insiders familiar with the situation. That’s the same part of the show that landed the host in hot water earlier this year after she made ill-advised comments about historically black colleges and the NAACP. A show spokeswoman did not have an official comment.
However, Brookman comes with some baggage of her own: She is suing Rosie O’Donnell for slander, claiming that O’Donnell got her sacked from her previous gig on “The View” after an on-set screaming match. That suit was filed in 2015 and is still pending, according to O’Donnell’s lawyer.
The hiring comes after a housecleaning of sorts at “Wendy Williams.” As TheWrap previously reported, the staff was shaken after three producers were let go this summer. One of them, Jason Gabel, had been with the program since it premiered in 2008. Gabel did not return a phone call seeking comment. David Perler remains executive producer of the overall telecast.
After Jesse Williams made a widely-quoted speech about racism at the BET Awards in June, Williams sounded off on the topic, saying the speech was poignant but questioning the need for black colleges and other organizations.
“I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically black colleges,” Williams told viewers. “What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP.”
The resulting uproar led Chevrolet to pull a sponsorship deal for the show.
Brookman worked at “The View” for 14 years, according to her suit. She claims that O’Donnell, a former host on the show, accused her of siding with fellow host Whoopi Goldberg and trying to minimize O’Donnell’s input when they discussed news events on the panel. O’Donnell was especially upset about her treatment during a discussion of an ISIS beheading.
Brookman’s complaint stated: “At that time, Ms. O’Donnell intimidated Ms. Brookman by screaming that she ‘owned’ the story and was upset that Ms. Goldberg covered the story, and by grabbing the arms of the chair in which Ms. Brookman was sitting, leaning very close to her face and prohibiting her from leaving.” O’Donnell also accused Brookman of leaking negative stories to the media, the suit says.
“The matter has not been resolved and Ms. O’Donnell’s motion to dismiss Brookman’s amended complaint remains pending,” O’Donnell’s lawyer Nicolle Jacoby wrote in an email to TheWrap.
Looks like Rosie won’t be coming to see Wendy Williams any time soon.