It’s been three months since The Wendy Williams Show has been off the air. Many wondered about Wendy Williams and her absence on the show’s final episode and it looks like we’re finally getting an answer.
The Hollywood Reporter released details that show the timeline of what was the beginning of the end of the popular daytime television.
In the report, Debmar-Mercury’s Senior VP of Marketing Adam Lewis explains why Williams was not present in her purple chair for the final episode.
“We knew we really didn’t want it to feel like an in-memoriam because she’s very much alive,” says Lewis.
“At the same time, we weren’t going to do this huge countdown with celebratory balloons because it didn’t feel celebratory.”
One of the original ideas was to air the show as it normally would and not make the announcement of the episode being its final. Executives nixed the idea and decided to put together a feel-good highlight reel from her 12-season tenure, which Sherri Shepherd would introduce mid-show.
One producer anonymously expressed “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.”
The fear amongst the executives was to have an awkward moment between Shepherd and Williams had Williams returned.
“The team wanted to be sensitive to Shepherd, too, and having Williams return, even just to say goodbye, “would have been incredibly awkward,” said co-president of Debmar-Mercury Ira Bernstein.
“It would have stolen the spotlight and, at this point, our chips are all on Sherri.”
“It honestly wouldn’t have mattered who we chose,” expressed co-president of Debmar-Mercury Mort Marcus.
“It isn’t actually about Sherri, except now she’s taking the brunt and she shouldn’t.”
Marcus recalled when Williams saw the Fox promo for the final episode, expressing she was shocked to learn of the cancellation.
“She called me, like, ‘Wait a minute, what do you mean it’s canceled? What are you talking about?'” he shared.
“No matter how many people could have told her — you could have told her, I could have told her — she’s thinking, ‘I’ll be ready in a week and I’m coming to shoot.’ So, it kind of happened all of a sudden for her, even though it was unraveling before her eyes.”
After the episode wrapped, the crew celebrated with speeches and toasts while the co-presidents reflected on how the daytime talk show was the first program Debmar-Mercury ever did.
“We practically bet our houses on it,” says Bernstein
“We just wanted to thank everyone for hanging in there.” Jewett also remembers most in the room crying that day. “I’ve been working in daytime for over 30 years, and lightning in a bottle like Wendy Williams doesn’t come through very often,” she says, fighting back tears in her retelling. “And I think I can speak for everybody in saying that we all feel so lucky to have been along for the ride. So, yeah, the final show was really hard, and it was really hard, to a large degree, because Wendy wasn’t there.”