Sherri Shepherd hopes her cheerful persona equals daytime talk-show magic

Her show took over for ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ in most markets.

Sherri Shepherd has fashioned herself as a multi-hyphenate in Hollywood, which is almost a necessity in 2022: actress, author, stand-up comic, podcaster. Her latest venture: talk show host using one name only: “Sherri.”

Her syndicated talk show in many markets including Atlanta replaced “The Wendy Williams Show.” She was one of the subs last year for Williams who suffered from a multitude of medical issues that forced her off the air after more than a decade of success.

Shepherd came to Atlanta last week to meet with the local affiliate Fox 5 (WAGA-TV) to promote her show, which airs at 11 a.m. daily in Atlanta and is in its second month. So far, the ratings have been strong, with Atlanta among its biggest markets.

Her fellow executive producer and friend Jawn Murray, who appears on the show regularly, joined her on the trip. He helps the show tick, she said: “We’re a one-two punch.”

Murray said he thinks Shepherd’s background as a comic will help her as it has with past hosts like Steve Harvey and Ellen DeGeneres: “We hope that after people gives us an hour of their time, they feel better when it’s over. That is literally our daily prayer before Sherri comes on stage.”

He said Shepherd “is a genuinely kind person. She is grateful for her journey and happy to do that work. That sets the tone for the long days.”

Shepherd has been part of several sitcoms over the years such as “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Less Than Perfect,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “30 Rock.” She was a panelist on “The View” from 2007 to 2014.

Here are some highlights from the 20-minute talk with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Difference from being on “The View”: “That was such a political show. I had to learn about the genre I was in. I could show snippets of who I was but I had to be up on the politics. It wasn’t my forté. I love politics now, but with ‘Sherri,’ it’s such a different tone. You get to see all the craziness and fun stuff that used to confuse Barbara Walters when I wanted to do it.”

Why the name is just “Sherri”: “I’m a stand-up comic. Any stand-up comic you talk to, when they get a sitcom, it’s just their name. It’s the way we are. I even had a sitcom called ‘Sherri’! I don’t assume people know me by name but I know if you keep hearing Sherri, you will. Repetition!”

Why she was named Sherri: “My mother liked the song by Frank Valli ‘Sherry.’ I told my dad, ‘Did you know Sherri Shepherd would roll off the tongue? He said, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about!’”

It’s her show: “I have a say in everything. I make decisions. I’m in the trenches because it has my name on it. I was a big part of the set design. The colors were what I came to. The guests who come on, if they affect me, I will say yes.”

Bringing in regular guests like Atlanta chef David Rose: “I want it to feel like a family. I know chef David Rose. My fans already love David Rose. As soon as he gets on there, he knows what to do and we have such great chemistry. We have to bring him back.”

Her core sense of her show: “It’s important to know who you are and what your mission is. There is a lot of competition with the streamers. When Oprah did her show, there were just the three big networks. One person said, ‘Who are you?’ I’m a single mother, an entrepreneur, a comedian and a divorcée. That’s my audience.”

What topics she chooses to talk about: “If I can use something relatable to me, it will relate to my audience. When [country singer] Jana Kramer said her husband cheated on her, she tore up his XBox and drew on his tux. I feel for her but she didn’t do enough! I’ve been cheated on. She needs to cut up all his clothing. I said do not do what Angela Bassett did in ‘Waiting to Exhale.’ That’s arson. My mind just blows up from topics like this. My rant got a lot of reaction on social media.”

Making up with Kenya Moore of “Real Housewives” after Shepherd upset the reality star when she mispronounced her name on Andy Cohen’s talk show: “I don’t like to cultivate a beef. It’s too stressful. My show is about laughter and love. For me to make up to her was a big deal. These housewives are like demigods.”

Oprah’s advice: “When she spent 50 minute with me, she said there was not a moment while doing her show that she wasn’t thinking of an episode that just passed or one that was coming up. My mission is to showcase people who have not been seen. I want to bring laughter and good times to people whose spirits are hurting. We are in a post-pandemic world. We are getting so much bad news. I truly believe laughter is the best medicine for your soul.”


“Sherri,” in syndication in different markets including 11 a.m. weekdays on Fox (WAGA-TV) in Atlanta

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