Following the report from The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, detailed what led to the demise of the daytime TV staple — and how Williams’ struggles with addiction and chronic illness took a toll on her and her show. More details continue to emerge.
As Williams’ health struggles kept her from hosting the show’s 13th and final season, one of the season’s many guest hosts — Sherri Shepherd — took the reins amid her absence.
Shepherd, who is now gearing up to launch her own talk show in Williams’ former time slot, was also present for its unceremonious sendoff that featured a tribute to its namesake but did not include a special appearance from her.
In a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, the news outlet claimed that the show’s production company, Debmar-Mercury, “never seriously considered” having Williams, 58, return for the series finale episode.
“To put her on as a guest or to do a video message from her would be a disservice to Wendy, who is so much bigger than that,” said a series producer, who spoke anonymously to THR.
Instead, Debar-Mercury opted to air a highlight reel from Williams’ time hosting the series. Shepherd, 55, introduced the segment and later delivered a heartfelt sendoff message to Williams.
“We knew we really didn’t want it to feel like an in-memoriam because she’s very much alive,” said Debmar-Mercury Senior VP Marketing Adam Lewis. “We weren’t going to do this huge countdown with celebratory balloons because it didn’t feel celebratory.”