Wendy Williams is a media personality, actress and New York Times best-selling author. She hosts her own syndicated talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. Williams has gained notoriety for her on-air spats with celebrities. Williams was a contestant on the twelfth season of Dancing with the Stars. She was eliminated on April 5, 2011. Wendy Williams also sells a line of jewelry products on the home shopping network, QVC, called “Adorn by Wendy Williams”.
In 1989, Wendy Williams began at urban contemporary WRKS (now WEPN-FM) in New York City as a substitute disc jockey. As rival station WBLS began hiring away staff from that station, WRKS hired her full-time for its morning show and gave her a non-compete clause contract; at this time she started her trademark of talking about African-American celebrities by giving listeners the dirt on the celebs’ personal lives. A year later, Ms. Williams landed her own afternoon drive-time shift, eventually winning the Billboard Award for “Best On-Air Radio Personality” in 1993.
In December 1994, Emmis Broadcasting purchased WRKS and switched Williams to the company’s other New York property, hip-hop formatted WQHT (“Hot 97”), as WRKS was reformatted into an urban adult contemporary outlet. Wendy was also married to her first husband during this period. In her biography, Wendy’s Got the Heat, she uses the pseudonym Robert Morris III to refer to him and describes him as a salesperson.
Wendy Williams divorced her first husband to “rid herself of excesses”. Williams was fired from WQHT in 1998 for using the airwaves to promote her own events, in which the station received no compensation. The media reported that Williams allegedly got into a fight with her co-worker, Angie Martinez, while outing her romantic relationship with rapper, Q-Tip. In her New York Times best-selling autobiography, Wendy’s Got the Heat, Williams praised Martinez, while acknowledging a mostly verbal confrontation. Williams stated that the station used the incident as an excuse to terminate her contract, and suggested that it was really pressure from hip-hop mogul, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, which led to her dismissal. She alludes to this in her second book, The Wendy Williams Experience, as she wrote, “He single-handedly tried to ruin me…”.
After the WQHT incident, Wendy Williams was hired by a Philadelphia urban station, WUSL (“Power 99FM”), claiming her New York fans “left her for dead”.
In 2001, Wendy Williams returned to the New York airwaves when WBLS hired her full-time for her own syndicated 2–6 p.m. time slot. Williams’ friend, MC Spice of Boston, offered his voiceover services to the show, often adding short rap verses tailored specifically for Williams’ show. By 2008, she was syndicated in Redondo Beach, California (on a station which services the Los Angeles metropolitan area); Shreveport, Louisiana; Wilmington, Delaware; Toledo, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Emporia, Virginia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Tyler, Texas; and Alexandria, Louisiana, among other markets.
Wendy Williams’ interview style is brash, and she refers to herself, à la Howard Stern, as the “Queen Of All Media.” In her television and radio shows, she regularly provides celebrity gossip.
Williams has published several books, including the paperback novel, Drama is Her Middle Name: The Ritz Harper Chronicles Vol. 1 (2006), which is co-authored by Karen Hunter.
In 2003, Wendy Williams interviewed R&B singer, Blu Cantrell, asking questions about her sexual activities and practices, her criticism of other R&B artists, and her drug abuse. This interview was sold as a bonus DVD with Cantrell’s Bittersweet album.
Williams has been a spokesperson for Georges Veselle champagne.
In October 2007, Wendy Williams filled in for Jodi Applegate on WNYW’s morning television show, Good Day New York.
In 2008, various members of Wendy’s staff were laid off at the radio station, including her co-host, ‘Charlemagne tha God’. Rumors circulated amongst her fan base as to the reason of their dismissal, including that Wendy had personally fired him. Both Wendy and Charlemagne cite budgetary issues and woeful economic times as the cause of his dismissal.
On the July 23, 2009 episode of her television show, Wendy Williams announced that she had elected to leave radio in order to focus full-time on her television program, as well as spend more time with her family. Eight days later, Williams ended her eight-year-long venture with WBLS. That same year, she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
On July 13, 2008, Wendy Williams debuted her daytime talk show, The Wendy Williams Show a 13-week test run on Fox owned-and-operated stations in New York City, Dallas, Detroit, and Los Angeles, during the summer of 2008. Fox Television Stations signed a deal with syndication company Debmar-Mercury at the end of the test to broadcast the show on its station group beginning in July 2009. The “shock jockette” remains true to her moniker when in her television trailer, she refers to exercising and crunching for her “belly flatness” and “kegeling” (strengthening her vaginal muscles). As part of the show Williams also drinks tea from various Wonder Woman themed coffee mugs.
In addition to its broadcast syndication coverage, Black Entertainment Television (BET) picked up cable rights to The Wendy Williams Show, which allows the program to be seen in markets covering more than 95 percent of the United States and BET. Representatives of the BET Networks have stated “After two solid quarters of growth at BET, we’re thrilled that ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ will be joining our line-up in July to strengthen the network’s momentum,” said Barbara Zaneri, Executive Vice President Programming Strategy, Scheduling and Acquisitions, who negotiated the deal for BET Networks.
Along with interviews, Wendy Williams’ TV talk show has sparked a friendly rivalry with Joel McHale of The Soup.
How Wendy Williams Made Her Money – Acting and Media
Estimated Net Worth: $7.5 Million
Birthday: July 18, 1964
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