Wendy Williams Show Taps Leah Remini to Guest Host Premiere Week amid Williams' Health Issues
"Wendy's shoes are hard to fill, so we needed to find the right fit," executive producer David Perler said of Remini, who is also the host of PEOPLE Puzzler on Game Show Network. "Leah will bring a lot of fun and energy to our viewers with a few surprises along the way."
As for Monday's premiere episode, the show has tapped some of Williams' "favorite hot talk panelists" — Devyn Simone, Bevy Smith, Elizabeth Wagmeister and Michael Yo — to helm the hour-long episode. Together, they will "tackle the juiciest headlines in the news and share their take on the hottest topics."
Williams' recent health struggles have delayed the return of her syndicated series. The season 13 premiere, originally set for Sept. 20, was pushed to Oct. 4 after Williams, 57, tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 amid other health struggles.
It was then pushed back for a second time to Oct. 18, with the show announcing late last month that Williams had recovered from COVID but was still dealing with additional health issues.
Earlier this week, Williams' show announced there would be "an exciting lineup of guest hosts and panels" when it returns without her on Monday.
"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 show said in a statement. "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," the statement continued. "We very much appreciate the respect for Wendy's privacy, as well as all the good wishes from her fans, station partners and advertisers."
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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 while struggling with it.
Season 13 of The Wendy Williams Show premieres Monday (check local listings).