Claim of a Lifetime

Televised struggles

Less than two years following the June 2022 final airing of The Wendy Williams Show, news broke of the former talk show host’s frontotemporal dementia and aphasia diagnosis.  The 59-year-old entered an agreement with Lifetime to produce a documentary, which would follow Williams’ life in transition from television to a new podcast.  During the year and a half that cameras followed her and conducted interviews with her family members, however, the focus of the documentary shifted to that of her health and the apparent growing concern about the level of adequate care that she was receiving.

Although Lifetime has defended the evolved approach and confirmed that filming permission was granted by Williams and her manager, a lawsuit has been filed by Williams’ guardian, who is seeking a temporary restraining order that would prevent Lifetime from airing the documentary.  Williams’ family has previously raised concerns about the court-ordered guardianship, and the documentary touches on the possible negative impacts of these third-party conservatorships.  In a New York State court, the lawsuit was filed against Lifetime’s parent company A&E Television Networks, however, the specific details of the lawsuit have not been disclosed to the public.    

Williams’ condition, which may affect her cognitive function and communication abilities, influenced her former financial adviser to report to Wells Fargo that Williams was not of sound mind.  This concern led to the freezing of her bank accounts and a subsequent court order for a financial guardian in February 2022.  Although the Lifetime production team had previously expressed hesitation on whether Williams was receiving adequate medical care, the former talk show host’s niece has confirmed to media outlets that her aunt is now receiving proper care in an undisclosed facility.  Despite the effort to pause the airing of the documentary, the production team maintains the impression that Lifetime’s partnership with Williams has actually improved her chance at receiving better care and support.