Michael Rapaport Thanks Wendy Williams for 'Trusting' Him to Host Her Talk Show in Her Absence
"I'm so glad to be here, I am so excited to be here," he told the audience Monday. "Wendy, thank you so much for trusting me with your show. We miss you. We cannot wait to have you back."
After Rapaport, an all-new hot talk panel will lead the show on Nov. 15. Then, actor and comedian Bill Bellamy will take the reins on Nov. 16 and 17, and Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos will co-host on Nov. 18 and 19.
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Previous guest hosts included Devyn Simone, Bevy Smith, Elizabeth Wagmeister and Michael Yo, who kicked off season 13 as a panel. Leah Remini then hosted for the rest of the premiere week last month, and Whitney Cummings and Sherri Shepherd took on the subsequent weeks.
"It is completely surreal to be here. I just want to say thank you to Wendy for letting me guest host. What an honor," Cummings, 39, said during her first day as host.
"Nobody could ever replace you," she continued. "We all miss you, we wish you well, we cannot wait to see you back in your purple chair very, very soon. So we miss you and we love you."
The premiere for the current season of The Wendy Williams Show was originally set for Sept. 20, but was pushed to Oct. 4 after Williams tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 amid other health issues.
It was pushed back for a second time to Oct. 18, with the show announcing in late September that Williams had recovered from COVID but was still dealing with additional health issues. In a later statement revealing the plan to implement guest hosts, the show gave an update on her condition.
"Wendy continues to be under medical supervision and meets with her medical team on a daily basis. She is making progress but is experiencing serious complications as a direct result of Graves' Disease and her thyroid condition," the October statement read. "It has been determined that more time is needed before she is able to return to her live hosting duties."
"Wendy is a valued and stalwart member of the Debmar-Mercury family and has been so for 12 years. We want her health to be her top priority. As soon as she's ready, she will be back in her treasured purple chair. We very much appreciate the respect for Wendy's privacy, as well as all the good wishes from her fans, station partners and advertisers."
Williams has long dealt with Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that results in an overactive thyroid gland. She was diagnosed with the immune system disorder over two decades ago, she previously told PEOPLE, and took an extended hiatus from her show in May 2020 due to the condition.
The Wendy Williams Show airs weekdays (check local listings).