Montel Williams’ Talk Show to End After 17 Years On-Air

Syndicated talk show host Montel Williams is being replaced by a younger version of himself. CBS Television Distribution announced Wednesday that “The Montel Williams Show” will cease production after this television season, his 17th on the air.Instead, stations that carried his show will be offered a series of Williams reruns.

“Best of Montel” will be 52 weeks worth of “some of the most exciting episodes” from the show’s history, the producers said. “I can’t say thank you enough to those who’ve welcomed me into their homes for the past 17 years,” Williams said. “It has been both an honor and a joy.

“In addition to receiving the 1996 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, the show that bears his name has also been honored with Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Talk Show in 2001, and Outstanding Talk Show and Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2002.

In a field in which more than 80 talk shows have come and gone since its debut, THE MONTEL WILLIAMS SHOW has established itself as an enduring brand built on quality and integrity. Entertaining, informative and relatable, the show’s longevity is a testament to Mr. Williams’ sincerity and compassion, in addition to his willingness to tackle complex issues head on.

The show provides a safe forum for provocative and meaningful discussions about family, communication, and personal and social responsibility. Mr. Williams’ concern for the welfare of his guests inspired the show’s After-Care Program, which began in 1992 and has since arranged for hundreds of people to attend psychological counseling sessions, weight-loss and eating disorder programs, and drug rehabilitation centers after they appear on the show.

Mr. Williams’ unique place in the television landscape has made him a welcome presence beyond the studio. For example, he has conducted interviews in federal prisons and has been on the scene of recent American tragedies such as Ground Zero after 9/11 and throughout the Gulf Coast after hurricane Katrina. On site in the Gulf Coast, Mr. Williams spent several days gathering first person stories from survivors of the hurricane, visiting homes and shelters. Mr. Williams later revisited the area with executives from FUBU, with whom he distributed $1 million dollars worth of clothing throughout the ravaged area.

In addition to his daily talk show, Mr. Williams has appeared in several high-profile projects. In January, 2006, Mr. Williams became the national spokesman for The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a patient assistance clearinghouse program which has matched more than 1.2 million Americans to public and private patient assistance programs providing them with free or nearly free medicines.

He has appeared in a series of PPA television commercials and has embarked on a countrywide speaking tour to educate the public on PPA programs. Mr. Williams enjoys acting and performs whenever his schedule permits. Over the past few years, viewers may have seen him on hit television programs including “All My Children,” “American Dreams” and “JAG.”

He is very proud of his appearance off-Broadway in “The Exonerated” which tells the true stories of six innocent survivors on death row. In 2003, he performed in a special version of the play with Aidan Quinn and Mia Farrow in front of 900 lawyers at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting.

Mr. Williams is also an accomplished author who has published six books to date. His New York Times best-selling autobiography, “Climbing Higher,” was published in January 2004 and details his struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. This intensely personal story, which follows his diagnosis through his darkest days of despair, tells of his ultimate acceptance of his disease. In the book, Mr. Williams addresses issues of broad importance, such as medical marijuana and the cost of state-of-the-art drugs. He also published the New York Times best-selling fitness book titled “BodyChange,” which he co-authored with expert Wini Linguvic, and authored the motivational autobiography “Mountain, Get Out of My Way,” also a New York Times best-seller.

When he was diagnosed with MS in 1999, Mr. Williams made a pledge to use his celebrity to find a cure. Because of his unique position, he has had access to the latest research being conducted around the world. True to his word, he established The Montel Williams MS Foundation in 2000 to further the scientific study of MS, provide financial assistance to select organizations and institutions conducting research, raise national awareness, and educate the public.

In a short time, the organization has reached several milestones: It has granted over $1 million dollars to research; it has supported a study done at The Karolinska Institute in Sweden which discovered an MS gene; and it is producing its first major public event – a bike-a-thon – to be held on September 30, 2006, in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

For more information on the foundation or events, please log onto www.montelms.org.One of Mr. Williams’ key beliefs is that “success is determined by what you give back to others,” which is why he has worked actively with a variety of charitable organizations throughout the years. (For details, please see his list of Distinctive Achievements.)

Mr. Williams began his professional career in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1974 when he enlisted in his hometown of Baltimore after graduating high school. After six months, he was meritoriously promoted twice, and in 1975, became the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School who then went on to graduate from the Naval Academy.

Upon graduation from Prep School, Mr. Williams received a presidential appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he studied Mandarin Chinese, and graduated with a degree in General Engineering and a minor in International Security Affairs. He was then selected as special duty intelligence officer, specializing in cryptology.

Honorably decorated, Mr. Williams has received numerous awards and distinctions throughout his naval career, including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Navy Expeditionary Medals, two Humanitarian Service Medals, a Navy Achievement Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals and two Meritorious Service Awards – the latter of which is rarely awarded twice.

Mr. Williams has four children, ages 11 through 22, and resides in New York City. He is an avid snowboarder, who finds the sport challenging and therapeutic, relieving him of some of the neuralgic pain in his legs. In addition to being an accomplished talk-show host, he is also the owner of several successful Fatburger restaurants in Colorado.

Voted Franchisee of the Year three years in a row, Mr. Williams is committed to excellence in everything he does. Mr. Williams recently celebrated his 50th birthday with a birthday party in Manhattan where he announced his engagement to Tara Fowler.

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