Williams diagnosed with MS

Talkshow host wants to 'inspire people'

Talkshow host Montel Williams revealed Monday — just a day before taping begins on the ninth season of his Paramount-produced talker — that is he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the incurable degenerative malady that has afflicted the likes of comic Richard Pryor and former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello.

“I want to inspire people, and show them that they can live and prosper with MS,” Williams told a New York press conference. “I want others affected by this disease to know that you can get out of bed.”

Little impact on production

According to Williams and Paramount co-president of domestic television Frank Kelly, the condition will have little impact on production of the show. Williams said he starting experiencing symptoms six months ago, and doctors still describe the level of the disease as “mild.”

“We have the utmost respect for Montel and will support him in any way we can,” said Kelly. “We are looking forward to this upcoming ninth season and working with him closely in the development of future projects.”

Williams just wrapped six weeks of production on his first feature as a helmer, the indie drama “Little Pieces.”

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