Wendy Williams Staffers Recall Confusing Meeting With Daytime Host Before Her Show's Cancellation

Wendy Williams appears on The View.
(Image credit: ABC)

Even as Wendy Williams is allegedly forging ahead with her new plan to return to the airwaves, there remains quite a bit of concern about the state of her health. Rumors and questions have really circulated since Willliams collapsed on live television in 2017, but her condition has become particularly worrisome in the past year, with the daytime talk show host unable to return for what ended up being the final season of The Wendy Williams Show. Her former staff members have shined some light on what went down behind the scenes of the show during that stressful time, recalling a Zoom meeting that was held with the media personality ahead of the decision to cancel the show.

On September 30 of last year, Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein organized a Zoom call to update Wendy Williams’ staff after the start of Season 13 was pushed back from its original premiere date of September 20, per THR. However, with many of the 100 Wendy Williams Show employees gathered either in person or remotely, the meeting apparently went south rather quickly, with claims that Williams did not seem like herself, combined with her speech becoming muddled. One insider described the meeting as such: 

She gets on and she starts rambling about ‘I’m really fine, it’s going to be fine,’ and it’s like, ‘What are you saying?’ [She was] starting not to be coherent.

The co-presidents had apparently rehearsed with Wendy Williams what she was going to say during the meeting, and had been talking with the host for around two hours prior to it. But when they realized the staff was becoming increasingly concerned, rather than having their fears allayed, the Zoom session promptly ended, causing further confusion. 

Lonnie Burstein, Debmar-Mercury’s vice president, attended the aforementioned virtual meeting in the studio with about 50 members of the staff, and said the reality became clear to them all at that time. In his words:

It lasted two and a half, three minutes, and it was not pretty. People were sort of freaked out. She was saying things like, ‘Oh, I can’t wait, I’ll be back with you really soon,’ but it was obvious to anyone watching that she was not going to be back really soon.

Later that same day, it was announced on Instagram that The Wendy Williams Show would be delayed further, with new episodes returning October 18. But when Season 13 did premiere, the eponymous host remained absent, and guest hosts continued to fill in for Wendy Williams throughout the season. 

In February the decision was made to officially replace The Wendy Williams Show with Sherri, a new show hosted by Sherri Shepherd. The former View standout had been filling in frequently for Wendy Williams, and her episodes reportedly brought in the most impressive viewership and ratings stats, thus her landing the new gig. 

Close to a year later, the situation surrounding Williams' health isn’t any clearer. Early in August, she reportedly said she’d gotten married, which her brother Tommy Williams said was “very unnerving” because it wasn’t true. He'd also spoken out in the last few months about the “heart-wrenching” situation, as Wendy apparently does not think she needs any help.  

With this new information about the staff meeting that was held ahead of Season 13, it’s easy to see why there was so much confusion and worry surrounding that situation. It’s also disheartening that Wendy Williams’ loved ones continue in that same state today. As always, we hope the best for the iconic media personality.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.