The Wendy Williams Show has faced an uphill battle regarding its recent return without its namesake host to steer the ship. The battle started even before Season 13 premiered, as it was delayed a few times due to Wendy Williams’ ongoing health issues. Despite Williams’ personal setbacks, the producers decided to start things off without her often chaotic and messy energy. It was certainly unclear how the premiere week would fare in her absence, but those numbers are now in, and they present some interesting results, for better or worse.
The long-running daytime series moved forward with its Oct. 18 premiere date in syndication, and it appears The Wendy Williams Show saw a relatively huge increase from the previous week. According to The Wrap, the chatfest’s key demo ratings jumped up by 33% compared to the previous week's installments. To be sure, that audience increase appears to be partly because the new episodes are being compared to the repeats that aired in the weeks leading up to the premiere. But considering no guarantees were set for how well anything would do without Williams, that's a victory for the producers.
While the ratings did jump up from week-to-week, the overall numbers were slightly down from the same period in 2020. The daytime talk show achieved a demo rating of 0.8 during its premiere week, which was a decline from the 0.9 stat the gossip fest earned during the same week last year. It’s unknown if the decline was due to Wendy Williams’ absence or if the general decline of year-to-year viewership, or some other factor.
On the upside, those numbers allowed The Wendy Williams Show to move from eighth place to fifth amongst the daytime talk show rankings. It ranked behind other daytime staples like Dr. Phil, Live With Kelly and Ryan, the soon-to-be-ending The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the karaoke-filled The Kelly Clarkson Show.
While the ratings did see a slight dip, daily viewers appear to be very receptive to the various hosts taking on hot topics. They have continued to watch the chatfest in Wendy Williams’ absence, with Leah Remini anchoring the first week of Wendy-less episodes. Sherri Shepard and Whitney Cummings have also served as fill-in hosts. But having the guest hosts thrive might not sit well with the talk show host given her reported stance from her previous hiatus. The last time Williams’ health issues led to a long hiatus, stars like Nick Cannon and The Talk’s Jerry O’Connell stepped up to carry the show in her absence, and rumors of her exit were sparked.
While the ratings and audience reception have remained fairly stable, the show might be experiencing some troubles behind the scenes. The Wendy Williams Shows has allegedly been paying viewers to fill the in-studio audience without Williams around. So, viewers might want to see Wendy Williams in the flesh instead of coming to see a bunch of substitute hosts, regardless of who they are. Unfortunately, there have been no signs of Williams’ return to her namesake show.
Until the talk show host’s return is announced, viewers will need to tune in on weekdays in syndication to see who will guest host next. Check your local listings to see when and where it airs in your area.
A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).
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