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Leah Remini will return to daytime television as a fill-in for Wendy Williams when Williams’ shows has its much-delayed season 13 premiere next week.
The 51-year-old Emmy Award-winning actress, producer and author has been announced to guest host “The Wendy Williams Show” from Tuesday to Friday amid Williams’ ongoing health challenges.
“Wendy’s shoes are hard to fill, so we needed to find the right fit,” executive producer David Perler said in a statement Thursday. “Leah will bring a lot of fun and energy to our viewers with a few surprises along the way.”
After being unceremoniously fired as one of the inaugural hosts of CBS’ “The Talk” after its first season, the “King of Queens” star experienced a career renaissance with her 2015 best-selling memoir, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” and the controversial “Scientology and the Aftermath” documentary series. The Brooklyn native has been a regular guest on “The Wendy Williams Show.”
For the Oct. 18 premiere episode, the production has tapped some of Williams’ “favorite hot talk panelists” — best-selling author and Sirius XM host Bevy Smith, Variety magazine senior reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister, former reality TV personality Devyn Simone and comedian Michael Yo — to helm the hourlong chatfest.
Williams’ recent health issues have delayed the return of her syndicated series several times over the last month.
The season 13 premiere, originally set for Sept. 20, was pushed to Oct. 4 after Williams, 57, reportedly tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 amid other health struggles, including Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that results in an overactive thyroid gland.
The Daytime Emmy Award-nominated series was then pushed back for a second time to Oct. 18, with the show announcing on Instagram that former radio shock jock had recovered from COVID-19 but was still dealing with additional health issues.
“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 statement said. “It has been determined that more time is needed before she is able to return to her live hosting duties.
“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.”