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How Wendy Williams selected Sherri Shepherd as her successor

Someone pitched shows with Michael Rapaport and Leah Remini to be hosted one of the series.



Due to health concerns, Wendy Williams departed The Wendy Williams Show in 2021. During her absence, other hosts filled in, including Sherri Shepherd. The last edition of The Wendy Williams Show, which aired on June 17, has now been canceled. Shepherd’s new talk program, Sherri, will replace the previous episode’s time slot. Shepherd wasn’t supposed to host for more than a few days when she first took Williams’ place. The show’s producers are laying out their rationale for selecting Shepherd as Williams’ replacement in advance of the Sherri debut in September.

Shepherd was by far one of the most well-liked guest hosts on The Wendy Williams Show, according to show ratings, according to executives at Debmar-Mercury, the show’s production company. Shepherd’s success as Williams’ temporary understudy made her the obvious successor; the syndicated TV programming firm had earlier attempted to set up a show with her that never materialized.

Alexandra Jewett, executive vice president of programming at Debmar-Mercury, told The Hollywood Reporter, “She blew us away. It was clear from the start that Sherri had something exceptional since “we’re constantly trying to see who’s out there and what they can bring to the table.”

Williams was soon eliminated from consideration for the full-time position once officials realized they needed a successor for the former co-host of The View. Ira Bernstein, co-president of Debmar-Mercury, stated that they thought Shepherd was the ideal host for a conversation program about celebrity news and rumors without a political slant.

Who is the greatest at doing it in their own unique style now that the time period and the structure have been established? said Bernstein. And we believed that Sherri did such a great job executing [the Wendy format] that, with a little tweaking, we’re going to make it the Sherri Shepherd show, but at 30,000 feet, in the marketplace, it’s going to fill that niche about gossip, entertainment, celebrities, and what’s going on in the world without being at all political.

Their final objective was to create a new show that would be enough comparable to Wendy Williams to keep those devoted viewers interested. Mort Marcus, Bernstein’s colleague co-president, claimed that pitches for shows with Leah Remini and Michael Rapaport as hosts were received, but despite the fact that the concepts were “so brilliant,” Shepherd was preferred.

Marcus stated, “We thought it should be Sherri to try and keep the audience that was watching [The Wendy Williams Show] interested in continuing to watch.” “You could see that in the numbers when she was on because it was just obvious she was much more of a fit for what The Wendy Williams Show was.”

He continued, “Sherri is upbeat and joyful, and she has the gravitas to carry her own show.”

The majority of Sherri’s cast members are from The Wendy Williams Show, but the show won’t be a carbon duplicate. Shepherd’s show will make an effort to maintain a welcoming atmosphere rather than an occasionally seedy one, like Williams’ show was infamous for. Williams’ sleazy humor, however, contributed to her initial popularity. The executives are yet confident in Shepherd’s capacity to draw in new viewers while holding onto current ones.

“Over the years, as we did research on Wendy, audience members would comment, ‘I can’t believe she’s so cruel to people. I observe her every day, and she is quite cruel. And then it said, “OK, hold on, hold on, what was the second line?” There was obviously something there since I watch her every day, but Sherri lacks that edge, Bernstein added. She is a single mother who prioritizes her child above all else, and she also happens to be a tremendously gifted comic who hosts a talk show and does a fantastic job of it. In many respects, she is just like the audience.

The creators of the show also decided to delete Wendy-related content from social media and YouTube.

Marcus stated, “We had to cancel The Wendy Williams Show and start a new show because we delayed as long as we could to make a decision on Wendy. We saw enough of Sherri to think, “Wow, she can actually do this,” so we’re eager to try, even though there is no guarantee of success.

September 2022, Sherri Check the listings in your area