What Wendy Williams Plans to Do on Her Summer Vacation: Boost Viewership

Wendy Williams is hitting the road this summer to promote her talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, in 18 markets.

"There are markets in which Wendy is huge and dominates time periods," says Lonnie Burstein, executive VP of programming and production for Debmar-Mercury, which produces and distributes the show. "But there are other markets where we aren't doing as well as we should. Part of that is an awareness problem. Once people see and meet Wendy, they will fall in love with her like they have in other markets." 

While Wendy turns in a decent performance in the host's home town, New York, the show has some work to do in many markets. Wendy Williamsis the lowest-rated daytime talk show of the 11 veteran talkers on the air (although Sony's rookie, Nate Berkus, is lower-rated on a season-to-date basis). Season-to-date, the show averages a 1.1 live-plus-same-day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

Wendy Williams will be in repeats while the host is out connecting with viewers during summertime activities. "We plan on hitting all the local radio and TV stations, fairs, malls, wherever the people are," Williams says. "I am there to spread cheer to the Wendy watchers, who have been extremely supportive of the show. And it never hurts to grow the show by meeting new potential Wendy watchers."

Williams' "Say It Like You Mean It" tour kicks off on July 30 with a visit to Fox-owned KSAZ Phoenix, where Williams will participate in the Fox 10 Dance Day and dance competition to benefit the Phoenix Children's Hospital. At the moment, the tour is scheduled to run through Sept. 1, when Williams will head to Sacramento, Calif., and appear on Tribune's KTXL, although Williams may hit up one more city before Labor Day. The Wendy Williams Show kicks off season three on Monday, Sept. 12.

Among the key female demographics, Wendy Williams ties for eighth among women 18-34 with Disney-ABC's Live With Regis and Kelly and Sony's Dr. Oz at a 0.7. The show comes in tenth among women 18-49 at a 0.8, beating only CTD's Rachael Ray. And among women 25-54, the show ties with NBCU's Jerry Springer for last place at a 0.8. 

In New York over the most recent four weeks-which included the July 4 holiday-the show averaged a 0.9 rating/3 share in its 10 a.m. time period on Fox's WNYW New York. That's down 18% from its Good Day New York lead-in of a 1.1 rating/4 share and down 10% from its performance last year.

Among the tours plans, on August 4, Williams and her husband and son will board a decorated bus and head to markets east of the Mississippi, including Miami, Tampa, Charlotte, Cincinnati and several others. 

In Tampa on Aug. 5, she'll participate in a local competition in which boats tricked out like dragons race across Tampa Bay. Williams will do live stand-ups with Charley Belcher, a popular local reporter for Fox-owned WTVT, which will start airing her show in September. Later, Williams will appear at a local mall, taking questions from the audience to do a live version of her popular "Ask Wendy" segment.

"We want people to get some face time with her," says Mike House, WTVT's VP of creative services. 

The bus will travel for the full four weeks, while Williams will fly out to some West Coast markets, such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento, instead of taking the bus all the way across the country.

On August 26, she'll head to the Minnesota State Fair, well known for its wide array of fried foods, live performances and competitions. "I am fearless," Williams says. "And I love to eat. I'll eat anything fried."

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Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.