Sherri Shepherd has paid tribute to Wendy Williams as an icon.
The actress, 55, who is permanently taking over Williams’ TV timeslot, guest hosted the last episode of the once popular daytime talk show on Friday, marking the end of its 13-year run.
Shepherd opened the farewell show – from which Williams was glaringly absent – by hailing it as a “big day”.
She added: “Most of all, we have to thank you, Wendy Williams. You have to say – there is nobody like Wendy Williams. From her days on the radio, to ruling daytime talk for 13 seasons, Wendy earned her title as the queen of all media.
“If you think about it, Wendy Williams changed daytime talk with her unique take on ‘Hot Topics’, her one-of-a-kind celebrity interviews, the signature ‘As Wendy’ segments and, of course y’all, her famous ‘How you doin?’”
She continued in a personal message for 57-year-old Williams: “And I wanna say: Miss Wendy you are an icon and you are loved by so many, so many.”
Her tribute prompted a chorus of “Wendy” chants, with the final show also featuring a video montage of Williams’ daytime TV reign.
The final episode aired one day after Williams’ ex Kevin Hunter, 49, slammed the production company behind the show for their handling of the series’ final episode.
He told Entertainment Tonight: “I feel like it is a travesty on the part of Debmar-Mercury to have such an unceremonious departure without Wendy being involved.
“It is the first time in the history of talk shows for this to be done, especially for a show that has been on for more than 10 years.
“There is absolutely no reason why a bigger celebration that involved Wendy couldn’t happen.
“I know the blood, sweat and tears that went into making the show such a success, (and) I am not happy with the way the show is going out on a personal level and I am truly sorry that the show’s fans have to see it go down the way that it is.”
Williams had been on an indefinite leave from hosting due to health issues and not filmed a single episode this season.
It was announced in February Shepherd will be given a daytime talk show titled ‘Sherri’.