The actress was among the fill-ins who took over hosting duties when Williams’ health issues forced her to step away from her syndicated eponymous show in 2021. Graves’ disease and personal issues caused her to miss the 13th and final season that concluded in June.
Shepherd was a fan favorite and ultimately took over Williams’ time slot with her own show, “The Sherri Shepherd Show,” which began airing in September. Despite critics’ attempts to pit the two hosts against each other, Shepherd said she has never felt like she needed to fill the former New York radio personality’s shoes.
The “Less Than Perfect” star told “The Breakfast Club” hosts Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy that she never even had a fear of being compared to the controversial host. “I think you start getting afraid when you start comparing yourself to other people and you can’t,” she said, starting around the 3:21 mark of the interview. “That’s when you get into trouble,” said Shepherd.
She noted that she had a similar approach over a decade ago when she made her appearance as the newest member of “The View” in 2007, following the departure of Star Jones. Shepherd remained a co-host until she left in 2014. Continuing her thoughts regarding making comparisons to others, she recalled, “I would have been terrified when I had to take over Star Jones’ place on ‘The View.’ The one thing that I love is Star Jones called me — I was working on ’30 Rock’ at the time — and she called me to congratulate me and she says, ‘Don’t try to fill my shoes ‘cause you’ll never fill my shoes.’ “
Jones also told her successor, “You have to go in with your own experience, your own eyes, and make these your memories, and she said so I’m not gon’ tell you about who to watch out for; you have to go in and get the lay of the land.’ I appreciated that,” noted Shepherd. While the newly minted daytime maven is still getting her bearings, she said that landing a talk show had been a desire of hers for years. She went on to reveal that she even shot a pilot on the set of “Regis and Kelly” in 2004, but nothing came of her efforts at the time.
Before “The Sherri Shepherd Show” launched, the standup comic said she received sage words of advice from Oprah Winfrey and Robin Roberts, but that she and Williams did not communicate. The former daytime diva stated publicly that she would not be watching her replacement carve her own television path. Shepherd was unconcerned by the remark made last year and continues to be so.
“I’m not doing it for anybody,” she said. “I know what my assignment is … If you want to watch me,” she said around the 5:08 mark, “watch and see what I can bring. If you don’t, the beauty of it is there’s Tamron Hall, there’s Jennifer Hudson; if you want a sister … there is more than one Black woman.”