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THR's 35 Most Powerful People in Media

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    Wendy Williams
    Wendy Williams
    Host, "The Wendy Williams Show"

    “I am a woman from New Jersey who happens to have a talk show,” says Williams, 47.

    It’s a combination of relatability (“Bullying and cooking are things all women with families deal with”), high energy, daily obsessions (Kim Kardashian’s flour-bombing incident and a serious Trayvon Martin discussion) and her signature phrase, “How you doin’?” that earns Williams cheers from her syndicated show’s devoted and diverse audience.

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    Renewed on Fox-owned stations through 2014 after being top-rated in its slot among its core demo of women 25-to-54 in New York and a handful of other large markets, Williams started 2012 with a bang, hitting record ratings for the week ending Jan. 15.

    “A 72-year-old woman in my audience is still having sex, is still fashionable and wants to go see The Hunger Games with her granddaughter,” she says. Williams, who has a line of accessories on QVC, describes her impact on Hollywood vaguely: “We have something to do with selling people’s music. We have to do with the popularity of the Housewives and the new show GCB,” but she is more specific about plans to extend her brand.

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    “We just started a production company,” says Williams. “I have five books out. I would love to turn one or three into made-for-TV movies or even big-screen movies.” But Williams is first a family woman. Her son Kevin Jr., 11, comes and stocks the studio fridges on days off from school, and her husband of 14 years, Kevin, is an executive producer, like herself.

    “We commute in together, but I leave separately,” she says. “Somebody has to go home and make sure the dishwasher is empty.”

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