‘Sherri’ overhauls ‘Wendy Williams’ space with distinct look

Debmar-Mercury’s replacement for “The Wendy Williams Show,” “Sherri,” debuted Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, with some significant on-air updates — along with some that will look familiar to Wendy Watchers.

 

“Sherri” took over the old “Wendy” studio in Chelsea and appears to have taken advantage of some of its predecessor’s scenic investments while also completely overhauling other areas, all of which were led by Jim Fenhagen of Fenhagen Design.

The overall design merges the aesthetic of a sophisticated loft with a comedy club, notes Fenhagen, echoing host Sherri Shepherd’s career. Bright pops of color accent the space and reflect her bubbly personality. 

The curved seamless video wall, or “media wall” as Williams’ show referred to it, has been kept but with a white-gray frame added around it. It’s still used as background for home base, with Shepard making her way to a low armchair (in contrast to Williams’ high purple chair) placed on a small oval riser covered with concentric rings of pinks and reds. 

Flanking the LED wall are segments of colorful, wood-tone vertical elements and, camera right, open display shelves. Meanwhile, the area is framed by a proscenium archway of sorts.

The archway element, which is also used on the opposite side of the set, has a curved corner and a series of glistening chrome tipped light bulb accents, drawing inspiration from comedy club venues.

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Camera left is another vertical element in bold red-orange and blue, a small faux brick wall with a circular show logo next to a wall of blurred glass.

The center portion of this wall slides up for the host to enter with space behind it filled with seamless LED and a row of the light bulb accents.

Williams’ set had a separate entrance for guests farther camera left, but this area now features a wall-mounted video panel and a blue and red serpentine sculptural element that’s found elsewhere in the space and designed to look like the letter “S” found in the host’s alliterative name.

Meanwhile, the audience area appears to have largely kept the foundation from when Williams used it, though surfaces have been updated with faux exposed brick. Framed installations feature smaller segments with the look of the curved sculptural element.

In the center of the audience area, facing the primary production area, a light-up logo sign has been installed — basically exactly where the “Wendy” one was. 

For interview segments, there is the option to bring out a large sofa — done in an off-white to match Shepard’s chair — that also uses the video wall as a background. In the debut episode, Shepard frequently used the video wall to showcase imagery of celebs or other topics, including during guest interviews.

During sofa interview segments, the purpose of those two vertical column walls that create a sort of alcove behind home base becomes apparent: They’re typically used as backgrounds behind one shots of the host and guest when they are chatting. 

All furniture can be removed to use the video wall area as a multipurpose area for demonstrations or games, often with specialized items brought in. Shepard can also move to the wall-mounted video screen for select segments, including remote interviews, while seated on a high off-white stool. 

The show uses text presumably meant to represent Shepard’s signature (and is perhaps based on it) as a primary logo, with a colored underline and dot on the “i.”

Standard video wall graphics use a light blue with faded diagonal laser lines, an interesting contrast to the curves in the show’s logo and portions of the set. A similar, slightly more vibrant version is used for the rare occasions lower thirds are used, which also make use of a polygon in a sickly shade of yellow to frame out the primary text.

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Much of the wood on the set tends to skew gray, as opposed to lighter tans or richer browns and reds. 

The show’s colorful open from Studio City features a blend of images of Shepard in a variety of outfits dancing and in fun, candid poses, often with the screen showing two or more shots at the same time.

Interspersed are key lyrics from the show’s theme, which centers on the theme of “We’re gonna have a real good time” and is performed by Trenyce. Shepard is introduced by announcer Rolanda Watts. 

“Sherri” is syndicated nationally, including on Fox-owned stations in major markets.

Project Credits

  • Executive producers: David Perler, Jawn Murray
  • Line producers: Matt Uzzle, Ray Noia
  • Directed by: Dean Gordon
  • Production design: Fenhagen Design
  • Lighting director: Deikran Hazirjian
  • Set construction: Acadia Scenic
  • Art director: Michael Lee Scott
  • Set decoration: Julianne Fenhagen

Corrections: A previous version of this story misspelled Shepherd and Murray’s name. Both have been revised.

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