Wendy Williams is feeling her oats and returning to her ‘mean girl ways’ now that her talk show has been renewed.
At the end of last season, viewers saw a kinder, gentler Wendy as she struggled with alcohol abuse and her marriage to cheating husband Kevin Hunter. The future of the show was in question and viewers responded to the more sympathetic side of Wendy.
But insiders tell DailyMailTV Williams’s daytime talk show is now struggling to book high profile guests after the TV host appeared to slip back into her old habits during the premiere of its 11th season.
The 55-year-old told viewers during the September 16 episode production company Debmar-Mercury has renewed her show through 2022 – prompting cheers from the crowd and a confetti celebration.
But sources behind the scenes say Williams’s new job security has brought back her shady side as viewers saw her drop her ‘girl next door act’ and take jabs at her own friends and colleagues on air.
Early into her hot topics segment, she took aim at her former guest host Jerry O’Connell offering her condolences after his summer talk show test run did not get picked up by a network.
She was later interrupted by her producer who told her executives called in to say they are ‘still trying to sell the show’ and that it wasn’t dead yet.
Williams apologized for the mix-up and quickly moved on.
An insider said: ‘She knew good and well what the hell she was doing.
‘Once Wendy got her green light to return for two more seasons, she didn’t have to play nice any longer and pretend she was onboard with Jerry’s show being her sibling show.
‘She always believed her executives were trying to groom Jerry to replace her and that pretend mix-up she did on air was her Wendy way of sabotaging Jerry.’
During the premiere episode, Williams also ruffled some feathers by accusing supermodel Christie Brinkley of faking her arm injury on Dancing with Stars in an attempt to make her model daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook a big star.
She said the fall looked ‘fake as hell,’ despite statements from BBC Studios and ABC saying Brinkley had to undergo surgery for her wrist and arm and even have a rod inserted.
In an interview with People, Brinkley responded to the comments saying she was ‘really stunned’ at her friend’s remarks, before reportedly breaking down in tears.
‘I’m totally shocked, because I have been there for Wendy Williams. That is so weird,’ she said.
Last week, Brinkley appeared on The Talk saying she had helped Williams overcome a bout with stage freight and had been aiding her in her ongoing divorce.
‘My message to Wendy is: It’s so much more fun to be kind. Try it,’ Brinkley said on The Talk. ‘It can’t feel good to try to hurt other people. If it feels good, something’s seriously wrong.’
The Talk co-hosts Sheryl Underwood and Sharon Osbourne also weighed in, reminding her that she wasn’t too far removed from her own personal drama and how people were supportive of her.
‘Why does she have to be so mean?’ Osbourne asked.
Underwood added: ‘Nobody said when she was going through the stuff she was going through that she was faking it. We all were worried about her health.
Loni Love and Tamera Mowry-Housley at The Real were upset after Williams took jabs at them during an interview with their former co-host Tamar Braxton.
During her September 18 show, Williams dismissed The Real as ‘a cute show’ that really needed Braxton back.
‘Thanks for calling us a “cute show” Wendy. We’re also an Emmy-winning show,’ Love shot back in a dig at Williams whose show has only been nominated in its 11-year run.
Mowry-Housley added: ‘It’s time for me to say this. It’s time for women of color to stop putting each other down. We already have other people doing that. More importantly, it, start uplifting each other. Loving each other.’
Producers at Williams’ show say that backlash for the comments about Brinkley, being called out by the ladies of The Talk, her new feud with the women on The Real and even the perception of her comments about O’Connell’s show is making it tough to book top tier guests.
‘There’s always been a segment of Hollywood stars who would never come on Wendy’s show. There are still a lot of big name black stars in particular who made a vow a decade ago to never appear on her show based on things she said about them doing her radio days.
‘But just when we thought things would be easier for getting guests and engaging people who aren’t just reality stars and B-players in sitcoms and movies, she’s making it hard again,’ the source concluded.
While the network may be frustrated that they won’t be getting any high profile guests this season, they are hopeful they can make it through season 11 without all of the personal drama that plagued Williams throughout season 10.