In light of Williams’ diagnosis, her daytime show is pushing back its fall return. Season 13 was originally set to premiere next week, but is now slated for Oct. 4 with repeat episodes airing until then.
“While continuing her health evaluations, Wendy has tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19,” according to a statement posted onto her show’s official Instagram account on Wednesday. “To allow Wendy time to quarantine and fully recover and to ensure that our production abides by all SAG/AFTRA and DGA COVID protocols, we expect to begin the 13th season of ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ on Monday, October 4th. In the meantime, repeated will be scheduled.”
The news comes as COVID cases continue to surge around the globe with the delta variant. As cases spike, the entertainment industry has endured a new wave of production shutdowns across industry.
One week ago, before Williams tested positive for COVID-19, the show announced that she was undergoing health evaluations for unspecified reasons.
“Wendy is dealing with some ongoing health issues and is undergoing further evaluations,” a statement said last week, adding that she would not be able to complete her promotional activities, but “can’t wait to be back in her purple chair.”
Williams, who has Graves’ disease, has been very vocal about her health in the past. She first told her viewers in 2018 that she was diagnosed with the condition, which causes the immune system to attack the thyroid. In the past, Williams’ show has gone on hiatus, in order to safely treat her symptoms.
Throughout the pandemic, “The Wendy Williams Show” — like all other daily TV programming — aired remote episodes from home for quite some time. When the show went back to the studio, it was one of the first daytime series to make a full return. At the time, the show’s executive producer detailed to Variety how the set has been strictly following health and safety guidelines, such as regularly testing the crew, all staff and guests.
Last season, after returning to set during the pandemic, Williams’ studio audience was comprised of her staff, while “Wendy Watchers” appeared virtually from home. “It’s a hot ticket — even the virtual audience,” executive producer, David Perler, said at the time. “We wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for our ‘co-hosts,’ and that’s why Wendy treats them like her co-hosts, not like an audience.”
When Season 13 returns, Variety has learned that “The Wendy Williams Show” will have its in-studio audience return, requiring all audience members to be fully vaccinated.
The show’s fall return comes after a regularly-scheduled summer hiatus.
Elizabeth Wagmeister is a frequent on-air contributor on “The Wendy Williams Show.”