Wendy Williams Wanted Lifetime Docuseries to Be ‘Catalyst for Change,’ Producers Say

Where Is Wendy Williams? documentary (Credit: Lifetime)

Wendy Williams was fully on board with the Lifetime documentary series that revealed the depths of her personal and health struggles, the film’s executive producers say.

Mark Ford and Erica Hanson brought Where Is Wendy Williams? to the screen in February. The two spoke with reporters on Wednesday, May 1, at an Emmy Awards consideration event titled “An Evening With Lifetime: Conversations on Controversies,” at The Grove in Los Angeles.

“This is not an easy story to watch or to tell. But hopefully we did it truthfully, with integrity and sensitively,” Hanson told Entertainment Tonight.

Hanson said the production team spent over a year filming the docuseries, which Williams hoped would be a “catalyst for change.”

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The producer added that Williams was vocal about what she wanted included in the project, and saw it as an opportunity to “be able to tell her story honestly and truthfully.”

Ford dismissed critics who said the documentary exploited the former talk show host as she battles dementia.

He also revealed the producers haven’t spoken with Williams since the docuseries aired, but said the daytime diva “has seen the film, and she’s fine with it, according to the people that have spoken to her.”

Ford noted that Williams appreciated the outpouring of concern after the project debuted and the kind words from her fans.

“She’s still fabulous, you know, even in the dire situation she’s in. Wendy has an incredible spirit, you know, and I think people can feel that,” Ford added. “[And] she really appreciates the love and attention that her fans have given her because of this platform.”

Where is Wendy Williams? premiered on Feb. 24, and aired over two nights.

The docuseries followed the events that led to Williams being placed under a court-appointed guardianship in 2022.

The four-and-a-half-hour series chronicled Williams dealing with health problems, going to medical appointments, and it raised concerns about her guardianship.

Related StoryWendy Williams Documentary Brought Millions of Viewers to Lifetime

The radio and TV legend was shown living in isolation, drinking heavily, and barely eating. The film crew sounded an alarm to a visiting family member and said there was no food in Williams’ refrigerator.

The TV star’s guardian filed a lawsuit against Lifetime’s parent company A&E Networks, in an effort to prevent the docuseries from airing. The legal maneuver failed and the movie moved forward.

Days before the series debuted, Williams’ “care team” issued a press release on Feb. 22, saying she was officially diagnosed in 2023 with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

Overall, the series revealed several uncomfortable realities about Williams’ life. The beloved TV host was shown spending her days in bed, constantly drinking, crying, and arguing with her business manager and jeweler, Will Selby.

In one scene, Selby confronted Williams and asked why she had a nearly-empty bottle of vodka in her bedroom.

“Did you eat something, or did you have a liquid lunch? Because I came into your room, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I happen to notice one of your specialty items. Did you drink this whole thing today?” Selby asked.

Williams has several physical ailments, including the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease, thyroid disease, and lymphedema, which has caused her feet to swell, making it difficult to walk.

Despite her many health problems, Selby was shown frequently talking to Williams about working on potential deals for her return to the spotlight.

At one point in the series, Williams asked to be driven by the building in New York City where The Wendy Williams Show was taped, but didn’t recognize the neighborhood.

Williams’ then-publicist, Shawn Zanotti, even flew her out to Los Angeles for a meeting with NBC about a new show. Williams was clearly confused during the visit and nothing ever came from the meeting.

Days after the movie aired, RadarOnline reported Zanotti and Selby were “no longer working” with Williams.

Williams and her son, Kevin Hunter Jr., served as co-executive producers on the documentary.

Kevin Jr. was interviewed for the project and said he took his mom in for medical testing in 2021, and she was diagnosed with alcohol-induced dementia.

At the end of the series, Williams visited her family in Florida. They kept her away from alcohol, and discouraged talk about returning to work. She appeared happy and healthier with her loved ones.

You can watch a clip from the docuseries above.

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