July 17, 2013 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg , Lacey Rose
Wendy Williams Lands TVGN Broadway Special (Exclusive)
TVGN is following Wendy Williams to Broadway.
The network, which is owned jointly by CBS and Lionsgate, has ordered an hourlong special featuring the talk-show host as she prepares to make her debut in the Tony Award-winning revival of Chicago, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The untitled special will chronicle Williams' progress from training to rehearsals to opening night. Her run in the musical began late last month and will continue for seven weeks. She plays Cook County Jail's Matron "Mama" Morton, a larger-than-life part that earned Queen Latifah an Oscar nomination in 2003 for her portrayal in the big-screen adaptation.
Williams, who had no professional singing experience prior to taking this role, will executive produce the special via her newly launched Wendy Williams Productions. Joining her is her husband, Kevin Hunter (who also produces The Wendy Williams Show), Lisa Knapp and Jill Ramsey.
Both the Broadway turn and the accompanying special are the latest in a series of high-profile projects for APA-repped Williams, who graced The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media list again this year. In February, she and Hunter launched her eponymous banner to produce reality shows, game shows and talk shows and inked a first-look deal with NBCUniversal's Oxygen network. In May, her sixth book, Ask Wendy, based on her recurring advice segment, went on sale, and a month later, Fox Television had renewed her syndicated talk show through the 2016-17 season.
TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) continues to add to its lineup. The cabler most recently acquired Big Brother: After Dark as part of its bid to rebrand and reprogram under new part-owner CBS.