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Wendy Williams wants to know: 'How you doin'?'

  • Story Highlights
  • Wendy Williams has made the transition from radio to daytime television
  • Former radio personality now hosts "The Wendy Williams Show"
  • She says she hopes the audience gives the show a chance
  • Williams: "I just want people to laugh and have a good time"
By Lisa Respers France
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(CNN) -- Wendy Williams knows that her syndicated television show often provides fodder for jokes on E!'s "The Soup." She's more than all right with that.

Wendy Williams is hoping to attract a broad audience for her daytime talk show.

Wendy Williams is hoping to attract a broad audience for her daytime talk show.

"I love it," she said, letting out a throaty laugh.

Williams is not at all bothered if people poke fun, because at least they are talking about her new show.

Long known to her radio fans for her outspoken nature and sometimes controversial interviews with celebrities, she is now navigating the switch from radio to television with "The Wendy Williams Show."

Williams' mix of celeb guests, "Hot Topics" and straight-forward advice to audience members led Entertainment Weekly's critic-at-large Ken Tucker to headline a recent blog item "Are you watching 'The Wendy Williams Show'? You should be."

The talk show host said she is settling comfortably into her new role.

"The radio was wonderful, and for 23 wonderful years, the radio served me, and I served it," said Williams, who is scheduled to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame this fall. "The transition for me seems very natural and very easy."

Her career has not always been so.

A self-described "Jersey girl," Williams was reportedly dumped from New York's Hot 97 radio station in 1998 after a run-in with a fellow on-air personality.

She eventually found success with a syndicated radio show, "The Wendy Williams Experience," which aired on WBLS in New York.

In 2008, she and her radio show made news after a talent booker accused Williams' husband/manager, Kevin Hunter, of sexual harassment, accusations Williams has dismissed as false in earlier interviews.

Williams has also had several high-profile feuds with celebrities, notably Whitney Houston, who have been less than enthusiastic about her dishy gossip style and what they perceived as prying questions.

In a 2003 interview with Houston, she tangled on-air with the singer about Houston's drug use in an exchange that resulted in Houston delivering an expletive-laced diatribe.

But while Williams still asks the questions many fans want to know (and retains her catchphrase, "How you doin'?"), she said, her television show is different.

"It's more polished," she said. "Four hours on the radio versus one hour on TV -- that means you that you have to have five words instead of 35 words to explain what you are talking about."

That doesn't stop her from sharing everything from her love of wigs to information about her breast implants -- without which, she recently told viewers, she was "naturally a long, floppy A [cup]."

Rob Dauber, executive producer of the show, said daytime television needs Williams' bluntness.

"Wendy Williams has a really unique, honest personality who audiences really relate to," he said. "The daytime viewer, I think, is hungry for a personality who is not afraid to speak the truth, to tell her own truth and to kind of let it all hang out.

"Wendy's not hiding anything from anybody about herself, and she's not afraid to show all of her faults."

During a recent phone interview, Williams, mother of a 9-year old boy, chatted easily while trying to get clothes in the washing machine and dinner on the table for her family.

"After the show, it's real life," she said.

"Last night was parent night at school, and I forgot to include the box of tissues, pens that erase and a few other things," Williams said. "No one said anything about it, but I went back in his folder and looked and immediately started sweating and feeling inadequate."

She thinks daytime television fans can relate to her, because ultimately she is a fan, too. She rattles off countless shows she enjoys including "Ellen," "Oprah," "Judge Judy" and "Dr. Oz."

Williams said she aspires to attract higher-profile guests on her talk show and hopes the audience will give her time to find her stride.

"I know that the show is messy, because I'm messy," she said. "But I have a staff of very talented people working with me."

She said she is grateful for her radio audience but hopes to branch out to more fans via television -- including men.

She said she often observes them at her show, clearly annoyed that they have been dragged there by women.

"I see their faces dragging long when I first come out, and somewhere around the end of 'Hot Topics,' they are roaring with laughter," she said. "At the end of the day, I just want people to laugh and have a good time."

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