Wendy Williams is celebrating the 10th season of her daytime talk show with “the same shenanigans as usual.” Her newest hot topic isn’t spilling tea, but instead is for good. She’s launched a new anti-drug initiative with her husband Kevin Hunter, to help recovering addicts be present in their own lives. The goal is to raise $10 million in five years to fund such things as drug treatment facilities and research. (Sept. 21)
Wendy Williams is gearing up for a new season of her talk show, and despite the trauma of 2020, she says she’s still “the same Wendy.”
After shutting down studio production in March on her daytime talk show due to the coronavirus pandemic, she went remote for two months, hosting “Wendy at Home” from her New York home.
Monday, Williams returns to her studio and a new set for her Season 12 premiere (check local listings).
Although COVID-19 has altered many talk shows, Williams, 56, tells USA TODAY she’s used to broadcasting from home because she’s had a “35-year career behind a microphone,” most of it spent on radio gaining notoriety for her fiery celebrity interviews, most notably her 2003 Whitney Houston interview. In 2009, she was inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.
Her “Wendy at Home” shows have kept the same chaotic energy. Williams’ home shows open with the host seated at a dining table with eccentric decor in the background. Shows featured her acting like her off-camera self, eating lamb chops or making deviled eggs.
“The pandemic does not affect how we do our show. When I get out there and there’s no audience and there’s no co-host, it doesn’t matter,” Williams says, adding that fans can expect the “same Wendy, same giggle, same show.”
While taping her show from home isn’t out of Williams’ comfort zone, the TV personality says she didn’t enjoy it because she doesn’t like people in her house and “felt intruded upon,” but “went along” with it anyway. She took a break in May citing Graves’ disease at the time, but now says that wasn’t the real reason she took a break. It was because “everything became corny.”
Wendy Williams says she’s learned that she can only be herself. (Photo: Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images for Spotify)
Williams says the pandemic hasn’t affected her day-to-day life much – she says she’s always been a “germophobe” – but she misses seeing her friends and family and getting “a hug or anything from a man.” She says she’s also proud of losing 25 pounds and learning she can’t pretend to be anyone but herself.
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“I can only be me, period,” Williams says.
Over her long career in radio and TV, she’s been crowned the Shade Queen for her contentious comments. She told Duchess Meghan “nobody feels sorry for you” when she was under harsh scrutiny by British tabloids, and cracked a joke about Hollywood therapist, Amie Harwick’s death.
But Williams says her candor is here to stay.
“I don’t say anything that is not already out there. I have no time in my life to go through celebrity garbage cans and find their stories,” Williams says, adding that she loves her “Hot Topics” segment and appreciates her team’s research. “We’re all grown people, and if you don’t put it out there then we don’t see it. But if you do put it out there, then we’re going to dissect it and talk about it.”
Aside from the adversity the year 2020 has brought on all of us, Williams has also been through a lot, from a public divorce to battling Graves disease to being under fire for making controversial comments about the LGBTQ community. Regardless of what life has thrown at her, the talk show host remains positive.
“I’m happier than ever,” she says. “You go through things in life. I have no regrets about anything but I’m here, I’m standing and on Sept. 21 I’ll show ya.”
Wendy Williams pauses talk show: after battling fatigue from Graves’ disease
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