Wendy Williams was absent from her famous purple chair when season 13 of The Wendy Williams Show premiered Monday.
In her place, four “Hot Talk” panelists — TV personality Bevy Smith; comedian and TV host Michael Yo; MTV’s The Challenge Aftermath host Devyn Simone; and entertainment journalist Elizabeth Wagmeister led the show and welcomed viewers back.
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The group used Williams’ signature opening line, “How you doin’?” to kick off the premiere.
“Wendy, I know you’re watching right now, and on behalf of myself, our panel, your co-hosts, we love you and can’t wait to have you back in that purple chair,” Yo said.
The fill-in hosts didn’t mention Williams’ health struggles, nor did the show on its official Instagram page.
Actress, producer and author Leah Remini will take over hosting duties the rest of the week, from Tuesday through Friday.
In a Monday report, RadarOnline claimed Williams was “blindsided” by the decision to bring in Remini.
“No one asked Wendy for her approval before hiring Leah,” an unnamed source told the outlet.
“They will say they are protecting Wendy and don’t want to bother her as she recovers, but it’s her name that is above the front door and she should have been consulted on this,” the source added about the show’s producers.
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The individual also said “anyone that is trying to replace her, won’t be welcome back when Wendy finally returns to her show.”
The premiere date for the new season was pushed back several times over the last month due to Williams contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19, and complications from her previous diagnosis of Graves’ Disease.
Multiple guest co-hosts will fill in while she recovers, although the show has been vague about what health complications Williams has and which co-hosts will sit in her chair.
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