Sherri Shepherd is not only trying to fill Wendy Williams’ shoes, but she has her sights set on filling Ellen DeGeneres’ shoes too.
The former View co-anchor and Wendy Williams Show fill-in is gearing up for her own talk show, Sherri, which will hit the small screen this September. Shepherd, 55, who partnered with Ford at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans to give away a brand new Mach-E mustang electric vehicle on Sunday, was happy to spread the word about her big new gig.
“I’ve always dreamed about this,” Shepherd tells PEOPLE of having her own show. “I always wanted something where I could make people laugh, that’s always been my why, to make people feel good.”
When it comes to her last stint, filling in for Wendy Williams on her now-defunct show, Shepherd says, “Going into Wendy, I did it within her format and I guess the viewers liked it, because I love pop culture, but I like to find the lightness and the humor of a hot topic story.”
For her own show, Shepherd — who’s teamed up with producing partner Jawn Murray — says, “It literally will be everything I haven’t been able to display. You only got to see snippets of what I do when I’m a guest on a talk show or when I was on The View.”
But if you’re looking for drama, doom and gloom, Shepherd says you might want to turn the channel.
“For me it’s got to be fun, escapism,” she says. “If you’re a mother, specifically a Black mother like me, there’s something that’s always making you scared. Now they’re taking away women’s rights, it’s always something. And I feel like people want to turn on the TV and not have to think about all that. I just want to see something that’s going to make me smile and make me laugh.”
To that end, Shepherd continues, “Ellen [DeGeneres] is gone, and I love Kelly Clarkson because she’s naturally authentic, but people underestimate a standup comic and that’s where we come in. We create magic where there is none, and there is really nobody I think who can fill that void, but I’m here and that’s what I’m bringing.”
One other thing Shepherd is bringing to daytime? An inordinate amount of hair.
“They already got the budget for my wigs,” she says with a laugh. “They’re like, ‘Wait a minute we thought Wendy had a budget, but this!'” The hair, along with adequate space to house it all, is a necessary expense.”
She quipped, “Look, I’ve got five wigs in my suitcase right now, just for Essence Fest!”
We’re not mad at the ambition.