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Wendy Williams Defends Kelly Ripa After 'Bachelorette' Criticism

Getting involved. Wendy Williams defended her fellow talk show host Kelly Ripa after the Live With Kelly and Ryan cohost said The Bachelorette“disgusts” her, sparking backlash from Bachelor Nation.

Williams, 54, spoke about the drama during the “Hot Topics” segment of The Wendy Williams Show on Friday, May 17. “I’m not a fan of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette either,” the series’ host said. “It’s so stupid, women parading themselves around. It depends on who you are, what you want to do with your life. For me, it’s degrading.”

Wendy Williams Defends Kelly Ripa After 'Bachelorette' Criticism© Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; John Lamparski/WireImage/Getty Images Wendy Williams and Kelly Ripa. However, the Ask Wendy author noted that the reality dating series is “just entertainment” and is “not that serious.”

The former radio DJ then addressed Bachelor host Chris Harrison’s commentary on Ripa’s words. “Look out #BachelorNation ⁦@KellyRipa⁩ is coming after you and your ‘disgusting’ Monday night habit,” Harrison, 47, tweeted on Tuesday, May 14. Williams fired back, “Chris should just stay out of it and be happy he’s hosting a hit show.

Williams also slammed Bachelor franchise creator Mike Fleiss’ suggestion that the reality show pays the 48-year-old All My Children alum’s salary. “As memory serves me, Kelly Ripa has been at ABC … longer than The Bachelor has been on,” the Think Like a Man actress asserted. “She jumped into an already successful show, she continued to keep it an already successful show. If anybody is paying anybody’s salary… I’m just saying.”

Ripa took over Kathie Lee Gifford’s role as Regis Philbin’s Live! cohost in 2001. She has been a staple on the ABC morning talk series ever since.

Williams’ defense of Ripa came one day after Grey’s Anatomy actress Ellen Pompeo publicly stood up for the former Hope & Faith actress. “Okay @fleissmeister… that’s some handle bro! Your show does NOT pay @KellyRipa salary,” Pompeo, 49, tweeted on Thursday, May 16. “Also we don’t attack successful women on our network and men certainly cannot take credit for their success. Don’t get me started on your show cuz I’m a savage…. #bachelorsoooowhite.”

The Bachelorette airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

Biggest Talk Show Controversies and Feuds:

Megyn Kelly’s Ouster

Kelly came under fire again in October 2018 when she defended wearing blackface makeup while celebrating Halloween. “When I was a kid, that was OK just as long as you were dressing as character,” she insisted on her morning show. She apologized in an email to staffers and later read a statement on air. Us confirmed two days later that NBC canceled Megyn Kelly Today in the wake of the controversy.

Matt Lauer’s Firing

NBC News chairman Andrew Lack fired Lauer in November 2017 after a female employee accused the longtime Today host of sexual harassment in the workplace. The New York Times and Variety later published additional allegations of misconduct against Lauer, who apologized and admitted in a statement that there was “enough truth in these stories.” He and his wife of 19 years, Annette Roque, quietly began the divorce process after the scandal.

Megyn Kelly vs. Jane Fonda

Kelly felt the wrath of Fonda when she asked the Oscar winner, then 80, about aging and plastic surgery on Megyn Kelly Today in September 2017. A visibly agitated Fonda shot back, “We really want to talk about that now?” before continuing to discuss her movie Our Souls at Night. The actress joked about the exchange months later on the Today show, prompting the TV host to accuse her of being “fixated” on it.

Kelly Ripa vs. Michael Strahan

Strahan informed Ripa during an April 2016 meeting that he was leaving Live With Kelly and Michael after nearly four years. A source told Us at the time that Ripa was “definitely blinded” and saw it as a “huge sign of disrespect” that nobody had told her earlier. After taking a full week off from the show, Ripa returned to her chair and delivered a monologue about “respect in the workplace.” That same day, Strahan confirmed in a statement that he would leave Live in May, four months ahead of his previously scheduled departure, to join Good Morning America as a full-time cohost.

Talk Show Controversies and Feuds

Sex scandals, extortion plots, and decades-long feuds sound like story lines straight out of a juicy soap like Revenge. But as reality TV fans know, some of the best drama is unscripted. Talk shows like the Today show, The Tonight Show, and The View may not seem that exciting, but they’ve provided plenty of headline fodder through the years. Here’s a look at some of the biggest controversies and feuds in talk show history.

Star Jones vs. Barbara Walters

Jones had a bitter falling-out with her View co-hosts in 2006, when she preemptively announced she would be the leaving the show instead of going along with the pre-planned reveal agreed upon with Walters. She later slammed the 20/20 alum for writing about an affair in her memoir. “It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters…is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer…for the sake of selling a book,” Jones told Us. “It speaks to her true character.”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Leaves The View

Hasselbeck was a polarizing presence from the moment she joined The View in 2003. After years of heated arguments with her co-hosts — including a very contentious debate with Rosie O’Donnell regarding the war — producers opted not to renew her contract in 2013. “The viewers they polled all said she was too extreme and right wing,” an insider told Us at the time. “People did not watch the show because of Elisabeth.”

Rosie O’Donnell vs. Elisabeth Hasselbeck

O’Donnell and Hasselbeck were often at odds over their differing opinions, but things got really ugly between them in May 2007, when they squared off about the war in Iraq. During the live, unedited fight, their View co-hosts watched awkwardly as the two women traded insults that were both personal and political, with O’Donnell calling the famously conservative Hasselbeck “cowardly.” Immediately after their blowout, ABC announced that O’Donnell would not return to the show.

Sharon Osbourne vs. The View

The Talk host Osbourne made headlines in November 2013 when she slammed the ladies of The View during an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. Though she claimed she “idolized” Barbara Walters, she said “the rest [of the hosts could] go f–k themselves.” A few days later, she apologized for her remarks, telling fans she was “trying to be funny,” and that she actually had a lot of respect for the women. “I’m not well!” she said. “I’m not responsible. I’m really just a loose cannon.”

Matt Lauer vs. Ann Curry

Curry’s messy exit from the Today show in June 2012 got even messier when reporter Brian Stelter wrote about it in his book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV. Stelter alleged that the former co-anchor had been made fun of and mistreated by other staffers, and that her final months at Studio 1A were “torture.” New York Magazine writer Joe Hagan made similar claims, quoting a source who said Lauer “didn’t want her there.”

Conan O’Brien vs. Jay Leno

O’Brien was tapped to replace Leno on The Tonight Show back in 2009, but in one of the most famous late-night shake-ups ever, he was ousted after just seven months so Leno could take his job back. The fracas proved to be divisive not just for the comedians involved but also for their fellow late-night hosts, many of whom sided with O’Brien. “The odds are we will both leave this Earth without speaking to each other, which is fine,” O’Brien said of Leno in 2012. “There’s really nothing to say.”

Jay Leno vs. David Letterman

Leno also had a famous feud with late-night host Letterman, who was passed up for The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson retired in 1992. Their rivalry was the subject of a 1996 HBO film, The Late Shift, and persisted for more than two decades. After the Conan O’Brien drama in 2009 and 2010, Letterman quipped that there are “two kinds of talk show hosts: Jay Leno, and those who have been victimized by Jay Leno.” He later said, however, that they had buried the hatchet.

Alec Baldwin Fired After Gay Slur Controversy

Baldwin’s MSNBC show was canceled in November 2013, after the famously outspoken 30 Rock actor made headlines for directing a gay slur at a paparazzo in New York City. “Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward,” he said in an apology after the incident. “What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable.”

Jimmy Kimmel vs. China

Kimmel stirred up controversy when he aired a segment on his show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, in which he asked kids how the U.S. should pay back the money it owes China. One child said, “Kill everyone in China,” to which Kimmel replied, “That’s an interesting idea.” The “joke” resulted in a White House petition signed by more than 100,000 people calling for Kimmel to apologize for the skit. “I thought it was obvious that I didn’t agree with that statement, but apparently it wasn’t,” he later said.

David Letterman Cops to Sex Scandal

You can’t make this stuff up. Letterman copped to a sex scandal back in 2009, telling the audience of his late-night show that he had had sexual relationships with members of his staff, and that someone had tried to extort him as a result. With the assistance of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, he forked over a bogus $2 million check to his blackmailer, which ultimately led to the individual’s arrest.

Leah Remini vs. Sharon Osbourne

Months after Remini left The Talk in 2011, she took to Twitter with allegations that Osbourne had been responsible for her firing. “Sharon thought me and Holly [Robinson Peete] were ‘ghetto’…we were not funny, awkward, and didn’t know ourselves,” Remini tweeted. “She has the power that was given to her.” Osbourne, for her part, denied the claims, tweeting, “I had absolutely nothing to do with her departure form the show and have no idea why she continues to…spread this false gossip.”

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