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The end of an era.
The Wendy Williams Show officially concluded after almost 14 years on Friday, with a tribute to the series’ absent host from Sherri Shepherd, who has been filling in for Wendy Williams this season.
During what she called a “big day,” Shepherd, 55, told the audience it was an “honor” and a “privilege” to have been tapped to guest host the program alongside other stars amid Williams’ absence.
Shepherd also paid tribute to the “incredible staff and crew” on the show, as well as the “loyal” Wendy watchers,” before paying tribute to Williams herself.
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“You have to say, 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,” she said. “If you think about it, Wendy Williams changed daytime talk with her unique take on ‘Hot Topics,’ her one-of-a-kind celebrity interviews, the signature ‘Ask Wendy’segments and, of course, y’all, her Her famous ‘How you doin?'”
“And I wanna say: Miss Wendy you are an icon and you are loved by so many, so many,” added Shepherd, before the in-studio audience erupted in cheers of Williams’ name.
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The Wendy Williams Show
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Following the final show, Williams, 57, chatted with Extrawhere she told host Billy Bush what comes next for her.
According to Bush, 50, Williams spoke with Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, the two heads of Debmar-Mercury — the production company that owned The Wendy Williams Show — and they all are on good terms and agreed that it was time for the series to end.
Williams also told Bush that she has plans to release a podcast series with iTunes in the near future.
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PEOPLE confirmed earlier this month that Williams was officially ending her talk show. “The final original episode of The Wendy Williams Show will air on Friday, June 17th, with a video tribute to the iconic host,” a spokesperson for the show told PEOPLE after first exclusively sharing the news with Variety. “The series comes to an end after 13 successful years in syndication.”
Back in October 2021, ahead of the talk show’s 13th season premiere, Williams’ breakthrough COVID-19 case and her ongoing health issues tied to Graves’ disease delayed its initial return. The premiere episode was delayed once more to Oct. 18 despite Williams’ recovery from COVID-19.
Williams previously went on hiatus from the show in March 2018 and again in May 2020, due to complications with her Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism. She also took a six-week break in early 2019, after fracturing her shoulder. She later revealed that she was also quietly focusing on her sobriety during the leave of absence as well.
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Ahead of The Wendy Williams Show‘s finale, Williams’ ex-husband, Kevin Hunter, revealed he was not happy with how things played out for her.
“I feel like it is a travesty on the part of Debmar-Mercury to have such an unceremonious departure without Wendy being involved,” he told Entertainment Tonight.
“It is the first time in the history of talk shows for this to be done, especially for a show that has been on for more than 10 years,” he continued. “There is absolutely no reason why a bigger celebration that involved Wendy couldn’t happen.”
“I know the blood, sweat and tears that went into making the show such a success,” Hunter added to ET. “I am not happy with the way the show is going out on a personal level and I am truly sorry that the show’s fans have to see it go down the way that it is.”
Shepherd is now set to debut her own show, Sherrithis fall in The Wendy Williams Show timeslot.