“The Colbert Report” Plays Its Final Episode

As Colbert moves on, the Colbert Character retires

colbert characterAfter nine years and 1,447 episodes, The Colbert Report played its final show on December 18, 2014 on Comedy Central. Though Colbert fans must concede their congratulations to their beloved host, who is moving on to host CBS’ The Late Show in a post vacated by the illustrious, long-standing David Letterman, they are also sorely disappointed. That is because the reason they came to love Stephen Colbert in the first place – his fictional ultra-conservative superhero furtively promoting liberal values – is supposed to be no more. True diehards of the show cannot image losing this character, who has at times seen so vividly real – such as when he spoke in front at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. However, in respect to the tradition held by David Letterman for decades (as well as for the ratings he brought in), Colbert will maintain the structure of The Late Show with his opening monologue, and non-character interviews of celebrities. However, audiences are still hoping to see glimpses of this character, because it is such an effective critical tool in a world where politically sensitive topics are frighteningly becoming risqué.

The Hilarious, Worthy Finale

The screwball final 30 minutes of The Colbert Report let Colbert release his character into eternity. He gazed into the eyes of Alex colbertTrebek to discover the answers to all the world’s questions, and he passed the torch to Jon Stewart. He threatened to kill off the character through the special guest of “Grimmy”, aka Death, but then suddenly, immortality took over, and a huge group of past guests convened all together to sing “We’ll Meet Again,” foreshadowing an eerie reincarnation of a supposedly departed figure. The show has been offbeat from the beginning, and it is to Colbert’s credit that the finale was just as unlikely – he didn’t cave to normalizing commercial pressures. Although the shelf life of this show is not certain, as his topics were always so timely, his contribution to the cultural mindset is definite.

He Provided a Revolution

Colbert himself admitted that he has served as a revolutionary figure over the past few years – for after all, a revolution is turning around 360 degrees and staying where you are. His humility is touching, but he is also being truthful to say that. He always showed the world what it was; his portrayals of conservative viewpoints were so mesmerizingly accurate that he was said to have convinced conservatives that he was speaking genuinely. That may have accounted for part of his fanbase, but ultimately it was the cunning ingenuity of the construct that made him such a successful satirist over the past decade. He managed to cause sincere belly laughs at the same time as expand our intellectual points of view. Though he will continue to play this role as host of The Late Show, he will also need to inevitably cut back on his mischief. However, the finale of “We’ll Meet Again” certainly implies that the Colbert character is not gone forever – but rather, like Santa Claus, hiding in the North Pole until he is needed next.

“Peter Pan Live” Airs on NBC

Allison Williams and Christopher Walken Star

Peter Pan Live!On December 4, 2014, NBC continued its now annual tradition of airing a theatrical production filmed exclusively for television. Last year, NBC had a stupendous success with their airing of a live production of The Sound of Music, amassing 22 million viewers for the special, which was produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (the producers of the Oscars as well as many musical films such as Chicago and Hairspray). This year, the same producing team mounted a production of Peter Pan, adapting the version first produced in 1954. Following in a tradition led by Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby of a female portraying the young boy, Allison Williams (Girls) was cast as Peter Pan. In addition, Christopher Walken (A Behanding in Spokane, Hurlyburly) portrayed Captain Hook, Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher) played Smee, Kelli O’Hara (The Bridges of Madison County) played Mrs. Darling, and Minnie Driver played the adult Wendy and the narrator. The broadcast, though not as successful as last year’s The Sound of Music, brought in 9.129 million viewers.

Sometimes Growing Up Is Not So Bad photo

Allison Williams is a star who has recently skyrocketed to national recognition, and this performance certainly took her notoriety one step further than the already immense fame she has garnered for her supporting role on Lena Dunham’s Girls on HBO. It’s not an accident that her father is Brian Williams, managing editor and anchor of NBC nightly news for over 20 years. Still, it’s hard to resent the nepotism involved here, because both father and daughter are so sweetly earnest. This photo is a screen shot of a recent facebook post Allison Williams made on her personal profile, showing how she has yearned to play this role since the age of 2 and a half. And her father was the first to announce the casting on his news show, adorably citing how this is a role she has always longed to play, and he should know, as he’s her father. This was an interesting way for Williams to foray into professional stage performance, as the broadcast had elements of both stage and screen performance. Whereas the musical was written and principally staged for the full-scale live stage performance, there were also elements that were only possible due to the filmed format, such as a larger set and cast and more diverse camera angles. Walken was cited to express ambivalence about this duality of performance methods, as he wasn’t thrilled about having a stage show broadcast to millions without the usual weeks of rehearsals and previews given to a Broadway show, and also that he’s never quite sure when the camera was even on him.

Firmly Mixed Reviews

peter panEven prior to the airing on Thursday evening, Williams conducted several interviews in which she predicted that many people would “hate-watch” the special, but also expecting that once they sat down to view it, it would be difficult to realize the “hate” part of the equation. Perhaps her self-aware semi-cynicism stems from her friendship with fellow millennial stars such as Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke, who would never be caught dead performing in such a classically un-ironical role such as this one (though Dunham probably wishes she could be a musical star, but she cannot sing and her comedy stems from a very different place; Kirke honestly would never wish this upon herself). Anyway, Williams was thrust amongst these fellow girls, and does offer a nice juxtaposition to their sentiment on the HBO show, but in this case, she proves herself to be paving the way to a very different career. As for actual reviews, some people loved it, and some people genuinely despised it, but most were somewhere in between. Alessandra Stanley in The New York Times said that Allison “ruined hate-watching,” because she convincingly pulled off the role after all. The Hollywood Reporter lauded Williams’ performance, and considered the entire special a success. Still, musical theatre lover Adam Feldman in Time Out New York came out with perhaps the most objectively accurate response, critiquing the entire show of Peter Pan for not being a first-rate show in the first place, but also critiquing Zadan and Meron for minimizing the inherent theatricality of the piece. Still, he expressed a sincere wish that NBC try again with the live television musical theatre concept next year, which the network has already expressed their intent to do.

Stephen Colbert Gets Letterman Slot, Jon Stewart Ponders Future

Jon Stewart’s Contract is Up at the End of the Year

jon stewartJon Stewart has hosted The Daily Show on Comedy Central since 1999. This half-hour long late night satirical television show premiered in 1996 under the helm of Craig Kilborn, but it quickly became Stewart’s domain, and he has steered the ship ever since. It is a self-described fake news program, covering politics and the national media. The second longest running show on the network, The Daily Show has won 18 Primetime Emmy Awards. In a recent interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart remarked that, like with anything if you do it long enough, there are aspects that come to feel like a grind. With Stephen Colbert recently promoted to the slot held by David Letterman in the CBS program The Late Show, it is clear that the talk show royalty is undergoing a transition. With Stewart’s contract up at the end of the year, he is pondering a transition as well. After all, Stewart was one of the major contenders to host The Late Show, and with Colbert securely in that role for years to come, he is looking to other avenues for his creative and professional outlets.

Jon Stewart’s Film Directorial Career

In June 2013, Stewart took a twelve week hiatus from hosting The Daily Show in order to direct a feature film called Rosewater. The film,rosewater which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and was shopped around to distributors at the Toronto Film Festival this past September, is a drama about a journalist who ended up imprisoned in Iran for four months. The shoot took place in Amman, Jordan, and difficulties were encountered such as an overlap with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, as well as the given long days and rigorous work schedule facing any feature film, as opposed to cable television. Stewart has inevitably faced a great deal of criticism for taking on such a controversial topic, and yet he has also encountered a lot of appreciation from his fans, who are happy to see him branch out into other realms of entertainment. In this light, it will be interesting to watch how Stewart’s career unfolds in upcoming years. Will he allow his contract to expire without renewing? Will he continue on this new track of directing feature films?

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”

Whether it happens at the end of this year or not, it is unclear who will eventually take over Stewart’s throne on The Daily Show. Still, other changes are happening at the network. They just added two new writers: Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah. Minjah will replace the seat recently vacated by Michael Che as correspondent, and Noah will be a contributing writer starting this December. Like always, the show is staying fresh with new comedic voices, while Stewart sits comfortably in the pilot’s seat. Interestingly, the captivated audience of Daily Show fans often considers the show their primary news source, despite the fact that Stewart goes out of his way to make the show satirical. In spite of this, Stewart does have real news underneath the layers of satire. He co-authored several books including the 2004 bestselling America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, which also dug its teeth into real issues underneath the jokes. In any case, Stewart is undeniably a pop culture icon in and of himself, independent of his role on The Daily Show, as proven when he hosted the Academy Awards in 2006 and 2008.

BET Makes Popular TV show “106 and Park” Online Only

Last Episode to Air December 19th

106 and parkBET has announced that the final episode for its 16-year running TV show 106 and Park will air on December 19, 2014. This music video countdown show, compared by some as the urban TRL, will continue to be aired on bet.com. Since it first began to air in the fall of 2000, it has been BET’s highest rated show for viewers aged 18 to 49. Stars seen on the show have included musical superstars Alicia Keys, Brandy Norwood, Ciara, Mary J. Blige, and Kanye West, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama and basketball star Dwayne Rade. The show has been filmed from the CBS Broadcast Center in midtown Manhattan ever since Viacom bought the channel, though it was originally produced in Harlem at the eponymous location.

Not a Cancellation, but a New Digital Brandbet trina

BET is billing this transition to digital-only as a new brand move, rather than a cancellation from cable television, which would previously have been considered a major retreat. They are calling it the new hottest hangout and on BET, one of the coolest online platforms. This is likely a good move, as many young viewers are primarily watching content online anyway. If all of those viewers adopt the new method of viewing their same favorite show from their computers, phones, and tablets, then BET will gain online royalty status to the kin of Netflix, therefore indeed reinforcing their online brand.

106 and Park

The current hosts are Bow Wow and Keshia Chante, and previous hosts have included Angela Simmons, Miss Mykle, Paigion, Shorty da Prince, Terrence J, Rocsi, Big Tigger, Julissa Bermudez, A.J. Calloway, and Free. It was first broadcast at 60 minutes, and has steadily grown in duration. The show is generally two hours long, although it sometimes is 90 minutes depending on the channel’s scheduling for the day. It is originally broadcast in the late night, early morning time of 2am/1am central, and has since played afternoons. Specials will continue to be aired on occasions such as the New Years Eve special 106 and PARTY.

CBS Colberts Late Show Being Tempted By California

Will The Late Show Stay in New York?

On July 23, 2014, CBS announced that when Stephen Colbert takes over David Letterman’s longtime seat as host of The Late Show, the show will continue to be filmed at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used social media to express his support of Colbert’s remaining in New York, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an official statement calling for Colbert staying in New York. Citing the reason that Colbert himself is New York based, Cuomo urged CBS President and CEO Les Moonves to continue the tradition of producing the show in the Ed Sullivan Theater. After all, The Late Show has long been a major source of revenue for the city and the state, as tourists flock to midtown and purchase tickets to sit in the audience of the show. However, several other locations made pleas for the show to move. Among these are New Orleans, Connecticut, and Los Angeles.

late show ed sullivan theaterLos Angeles Makes a Plea

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti publically plead for the show to move to Los Angeles, and California Assemblyman Mike Gatto even announced that he, along with Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, would consider revising legislation to expand the tax incentives, specifically to lure The Tonight Show among other TV shows that would benefit from such a revision. In particular, the new law would offer the benefits to non-scripted shows that are offered to scripted shows, which gives a 25% incentive when the show relocates to California from other states. Other talk shows that are produced in Los Angeles include those led by hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, and Conan O’Brien. Still, a revised law might very well persuade more to follow suit. In February, Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show is taking a brief trip February 2-5, 2015 following their trip to Phoenix for the Super Bowl telecast. This marks The Tonight Show’s first stint out west since it moved back to New York City’s Rockefeller Center earlier this year.

colbert lettermanThe Late Show

The Late Show first aired in 1993 with David Letterman and its presenter and host. Letterman’s extensive career also included his role as the host of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982 to 1993. CBS’ The Late Show airs generally from 11:35pm to 12:37am, both Eastern and Pacific time. When it was announced in July that Colbert would take over Letterman’s seat, this marks the first time another host has led this show, and it will keep its same name rather than hanging to suit the new personality. Stephen Colbert, for his part, has long had a show on Comedy Central called The Colbert Report in which he plays a character. It has been announced that Colbert will leave his persona behind when he takes over Letterman’s job, instead playing it much more straight. It was also declared that the show would remain in New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater. Despite Los Angeles’ attempts to revise its legislation in order to woo the show to the West Coast, New York stepped up to the challenge. First of all, CBS paid over $40,000 in campaign contributions to Andrew Cuomo in order for him to keep tax breaks in New York City. And it appears to have paid off, as a deal was made official on July 23, 2014 – including $16,000,000 in tax incentives over a period of five years. It therefore appears The Late Show will remain in New York City for the foreseeable future.

“The View” Launches 18th Season with New Co-Hosts

For the First Time, Barbara Walters Will Not Host

On September 15, 2014, the 18th season of “The View” will premiere on ABC.  The talk show has been on the air since 1997, when it was first conceived by Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie.  Over the course of these years, many different hosts have come and gone, but the departure marked by this season is unprecedented.  First of all, at the end of last season, Barbara Walters stepped down as co-host after seventeen years, and also Bill Geddie stepped down as executive producer.  Though Walters has stayed on as co-executive producer now with Bill Wolff, she has retired from regular onscreen appearances.  Furthermore, an additional two of the co-hosts – Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy – were asked to step down as well.  Therefore, the only incumbent host this season is Whoopi Goldberg, and she is joined by Rosie O’Donnell, Rosie Perez, and Nicolle Wallace.

Rosie O’Donnell Steps Up to the Mantle

whoopi goldberg rosie odonnellAt the end of last season, there was a lot of speculation that “The View” was taking on too many changes.  Many fans were vocally upset about the firing of hosts Shepherd and McCarthy, not to mention Walters’ departure.  However, it appears that ABC has gotten all of its ducks in a row, with a new batch of exciting co-hosts.  In July, it was announced that Rosie O’Donnell would be joining Whoopi Goldberg for the upcoming season.  After earning two Emmy’s for her own talk show “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” that ran from 1996 to 2002, O’Donnell served as co-host on “The View” for just one season, from 2006-7.  In 2007, she had already decided not to renew her contract when she got into a very controversial argument with that season’s co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck about the Iraq War.  That episode went viral, and it became clear that O’Donnell’s controversial opinions boosted ratings for “The View,” though she pledged never to return to the show.  Following that stint, O’Donnell had her own talk show “The Rosie Show” on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network in 2011, but that was a quick flop.  Nevertheless, O’Donnell’s stature as a beloved household name remains uncontested.

The New “View”

In 2014, O’Donnell reappeared as a guest host on the view on two occasions: once in February, and then again in the group farewellrosie perez nicolle wallace episode to Barbara Walters.  Now returning as full-time co-host, Rosie has pledged to make the show smarter.  She will ensure they first present an objective view of the conversation topic, so the discussion can evolve beyond the givens.  Not only is “The View” getting a serious makeover for the launch of this season, but O’Donnell herself has undergone significant personal changes prior to coming on board.  She underwent weight loss surgery in 2013, and recently appeared on the cover of “Variety” flaunting her new slimmer figure.  Before being given the position, O’Donnell had to do a chemistry test with Whoopi Goldberg, to both of their surprise; of course they passed.  The same test was required for the ladies competing for the final two co-host slots, and the winners were Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace.  Perez is an actress and choreographer who has been nominated for an Academy Award, and who will also be appearing on Broadway this spring in Larry David’s Fish in the Dark.  Wallace is a Republican PR vet and political commentator, who held the position of White House communications director under President George W. Bush.  These two women are sure to balance out the dynamic in exciting ways.

“The View” Basics

“The View” airs live from New York City at 11:00am on weekdays.  It is aired at 10:00am in the Central time zone, and is tape-delayed for other time zones.  Furthermore, the show airs internationally in various countries.  In addition to new co-hosts, the 18th season also marks a new location for filming: the ABC Broadcast Center on West 67th Street which formerly housed the now cancelled show “Katie.”  The format of the show involves the generally female co-hosts discussing current events and news, including politics, celebrity gossip, and social issues.  Starting in the 15th season, Barbara Walters would take off each week on Friday when a male guest host would come on; this was called “Guy Day” Friday.  Still, the show is heavily geared towards expressing the female viewpoint, but from women with a range of backgrounds.

The Meredith Vieira Show Premieres This Fall

NBC Universal Grants Vieira Her Own TV Show – Premieres on August 25, 2014

the meredith vieira showMeredith Vieira, who won over the hearts of Americans by hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? for eleven seasons, in addition to her many other television talk show appearances, has finally earned her own show. The Meredith Vieira Show will premiere on Monday, August 25, 2014 produced by NBCUniversal and airing in syndication. The show will be filmed in New York City’s world famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza with a live studio audience. This daytime talk show will have six episodes a week, with tapings taking place twice a day every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00am and 3:00pm. The producers of The Meredith Vieira Show are inviting audience members to attend this exciting premiere taping on August 25th free of charge! The show will feature celebrity guests, interactive games, human interest stories, and a slew of other surprises, and free tickets can be acquired by phone or online, by calling 212-664-3056, or by visiting the website www.meredithvieirashow.com/tickets.

Viera’s Incredible Career Escalation: News Announcer, 60 Minutes, Millionaire and The View

Vieira’s career began in the mid-1970s as a radio news announcer in Worcester, Massachusetts. She entered the realm of television first in Providence, and then in New York City serving as an investigative reporter at WCBS-TV from 1979 to 1982. Until 1984, she served in Chicago as a reporter for CBS; this is where she first gained national recognition. From 1985 to 1993, she was a correspondent for nationwide news shows including West 57th, 60 Minutes, and finally as co-anchor for CBS Morning News. In 1994, Vieira transitioned from CBS to ABC, first as a regular correspondent for the ABC show Turning Point. Meanwhile, she also hosted the Lifetime channel’s show Intimate Portrait from 1995 to 2004. When The View debuted in 1997, Vieira was its original moderator and co-host, a position she held until June 2006.

the meredith vieira show

In 2002, Meredith Vieira took over Regis Philbin’s position as host of the renowned show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Upon her takeover, the show transitioned from being aired only on ABC to being nationally syndicated. In January 2013, after eleven seasons, Vieira announced that she would be leaving Millionaire after filming over 1,800 episodes and awarding contestants over $70,000,000.00. Meanwhile, upon departing The View in 2006, Vieira accepted the position of succeeding Katie Couric as co-anchor on the NBC show Today. Her contract stipulated that she would not appear on Today for any hours that conflicted with Millionaire; as such, she rarely appeared in the third or fourth hours of the show. She remained in her position on Today until 2011. In 2012, Vieira co-hosted the NBC coverage of the London Summer Olympic Games, and for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, she became the first woman to be a solo anchor NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.

The Meredith Vieira Show

Now with the premiere of The Meredith Vieira Show, her career has reached a new height. Distributed by NBCUniversal, the Meredith-viera-350x265show has already been sold to 98% of the United States, and it has also been picked up by CTV in Canada. The show’s band leader will be Everett Bradley, who tours with Bruce Springsteen’s legendary E Street Band. Furthermore, Jon Harris, a close friend of Meredith and her husband Richard, will be the show’s announcer. Harris has had a long career serving as the lead spokesperson for global companies such as the Hillshire Brands Company. It has also been announced that Geoff Rosen and Matthew Strauss will be the show’s co-executive producers, and that Benita Alexander, Angela LaGreca, and Leslie Peirez will be the show’s supervising producers.

Free Tickets To The Show

Free tickets to the premiere of The Meredith Vieira Show taping on August 25th at Studio 6A of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (on West 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) are available by requesting at www.meredithvieirashow.com/tickets/ or by calling 212-664-3056. Individuals can book up to four tickets, and there are also group options available.

Cedric the Entertainer Quits “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Upon Its Move to Connecticut

cedric-who-wants-to-be-a-millionaireTerry Crews Is The New Host

The wildly successful game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has been running since 1999.  For the past year, it has been hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, the American actor and comedian.  However, this stint as host will not continue past the 2013 to 2014 season.  Upon the show’s decision to move its production headquarters to Stamford, Connecticut (about one hour from New York City), he decided that he could not fit the hosting gig into his busy schedule.  As Cedric is simultaneously involved in many television and film projects, he often needs to travel around the country, and the distance between Stamford and New York City made the difference in his ability to commit to the role.  In early May 2014, Disney-ABC (which distributes the show) announced that the new host will be Former NFL Player Terry Crews, also known for his role on the Fox sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

A Long-Running Hit Show

The format of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? involves choosing an audience member by asking the whole audience a game question, and then offering a maximum prize of $1,000,000 to that person who must correctly answer a series of multiple choice questions.  The questions are of increasing complexity, and the contestant is allowed to use a series of lifelines to help them, including Ask the Audience, Phone a Friend, 50:50 (eliminating half the answers), Plus One (bringing up a friend to help answer), and Crystal Ball (showing the money value of a round one question).  In the show’s original format, it was aired by ABC and hosted by Regis Philbin.  Starting in 2002, it became syndicated and was hosted by Meredith Vieira.  Meredith had a very successful run, continuing as host until 2013, when she left to focus on other projects in her career.  Upon her departure, Cedric the Entertainer took over the position.  Little did anyone suspect that he would only last for one year.

A Win For Connecticut

From 1999 to 2012, the game show was taped at ABC’s Television Center East studio in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on West 67th Street.  In 2013, the show was moved to NEP Broadcasting’s Metropolis Studios, located further uptown in East Harlem at East 106th Street.  Millionaire’s decision to move its facilities to Connecticut’s Gold Coast will create 150 more jobs in the area.  Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy has been working to rebuild the state’s television and digital media industry, and this is a major success in that regard.  Since 2006, the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development has issued $365 million in tax credits, which amounts to $1.2 billion dollars of expenditures in film, television, and media production.  This Digital Media and Motion Picture Tax Credit Program may be a major reason why Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? chose to move its production to Stamford, Connecticut.  Another example of a major network taking advantage of this credit program is ESPN, which opened Digital Center 2, a state-of-the-art digital production center for its SportsCenter franchise in July 2014.

The Escalating Career of Terry Crews

Over the course of his football career, Terry Crews played for the Los Angeles Rams, the San Diego Chargers, the Washington terry crews who wants to be a millionaireRedskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Since transitioning into the entertainment industry, he has become very well known for his roles on Arrested Development, The Newsroom, Everybody Hates Chris, Are We There Yet?, as well as a series of Old Spice commercials.  Over the past few months, several networks have been competing to get Crews on board for a long-term commitment.  The taping schedule of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will be arranged so as not to conflict with his schedule for Brooklyn Nine Nine.  Once that comedy concludes its run, ABC hinted they may give Crews an even bigger hosting job than Millionaire.

“The View” Fires Co-Hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy

Whoopi Goldberg Remains As Sole Co-Host For Now

When Barbara Walters retired from her onscreen position on ABC’s The View on May 16, 2014, questions were circulating about who would replace her among the four co-hosts.  Just over one month later, two more co-hosts have left the show, but this time not of their own choice.  Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy will be leaving the daytime talk show at the end of Season 17, which runs through the first complete week in August.  Whereas Shepherd has been on the show for seven seasons, McCarthy is a newer addition, having joined this past September upon the departure of Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasslebeck.  At this point, the only remaining co-host of The View is Whoopi Goldberg.  As The View has always been defined by its four powerful female co-hosts, this puts the entire show’s existence into question.

jenny mccarthy sherri shepherdMixed Justifications By ABC For The Firings

According to a TMZ exclusive story, ABC network executives had a meeting last Thursday afternoon, during which it was decided that Shepherd and McCarthy would not be returning to the show.  The reason for these firings is not quite clear.  As for Shepherd, some sources believe that the beginning of the end was when she disagreed with Barbara Walters for supporting Woody Allen in light of his daughter Dylan Farrow’s accusations of sexual assault.  According to People Magazine, however, the decision was made following a failure by Shepherd and her representatives to reach an agreement on a new deal with ABC.  As for McCarthy, TMZ claims that The View has been in turmoil ever since she joined the show, and many fans comments expressed gratitude for the announcement of her departure, proving she was not a very popular member of the team.  The official report, according to People Magazine, is that McCarthy is being let go due to a decision to take the show in a new creative direction.

Shepherd and McCarthy Told The World Through Their Twitter Feeds

On Thursday, Shepherd made her own public announcement via twitter, stating that the number 7 is God’s number, and therefore she is leaving the show after 7 seasons.  She also expressed gratitude to everyone for their support, and in particular to Barbara Walters for pushing her beyond her comfort zone.  McCarthy followed up with her own tweet, saying that if Sherri goes, then she goes too, including the hashtag “sisters.”  TMZ also reported that Bill Geddie, the show’s co-executive producer along with Barbara Walters, will be leaving the show.  (Walters has remained on as executive producer even after concluding her onscreen responsibilities.)

the view only whoopi left

Future Co-Hosts Are Still Uncertain

The future of The View is presently uncertain.  It is very possible that the show will not be able to withstand this many departures at once, but as of now there are still plans to continue with Season 18 in mid-September.  With only Whoopi remaining in a present co-host position, rumors are circulating about who the replacements will be to join her.  TMZ reported that Rosie O’Donnell might very well be returning to the show, and that producers are also interested in Laila Ali.  Other names in the mix are Ross Matthews and Jesse Palmer.  In any case, ABC executives are still presenting an appearance of confidence regarding the future direction of the show, and more information about its new creative direction should surface soon.

Barbara Walters Says Farewell to “The View”

Barbara Walters Winds Down Her Television Career

On May 13, 2013, Barbara Walters announced that she would be retiring from appearing on television in approximately one year.  As promised, her final appearance as co-host on The View occurred on May 16, 2014.  Her retirement comes after a long and successful career as a television journalist, and her decision to retire, she said, was purely her own.  She remains on a co-executive producer of The View along with Bill Geddie, and will continue to do so as long as the show is on the air.  Presently, the remaining hosts of The View are Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, and Jenny McCarthy.  In total, there have been eleven co-hosts of the show since its inception in 1997, and all of them appeared to celebrate Barbara Walters on the show the day before her retirement.

barbara waltersWalters’ Career Trajectory

Walters has been a co-host and contributor to ABC News since 1976.  Prior to that, she had worked as a writer and research for NBC’s The Today Show since 1961, soon becoming that show’s regular “Today Girl.”  She effectively became co-host of The Today Show within a year after that, but the show’s male host Frank McGee refused to allow her equal responsibilities.  She was finally named co-host in 1974, but soon left for ABC.  At ABC, she first served as an anchor for ABC Evening News for two years, and she became a co-host of the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 in 1979.  She became known for her “personality journalism” and “scoop interviews,” and her access to public figures soon became unparalleled.  She crossed the Bay of Pigs with Fidel Castro, and she asked Vladimir Putin outright if he had ever ordered anyone to be killed; his answer was no.

Her Health and Personal Life

At age 84, Barbara Walters is in admirable health.  In May 2010, she took a leave from The View to undergo open heart surgery, but she returned to work in September.  As for her personal life, she has been married four times to three different men, because she divorced and then remarried her most recent husband, Merv Adelson.  Her first marriage was annulled in under a year, and her second marriage – to theatre producer and theatre own Lee Guber – resulted in her only child, an adopted daughter named Jacqueline Dena Guber (born 1968).  Upon her retirement, she does not plan to climb another mountain or appear on another program; rather, she said, she wants to sit on a sunny field and admire the gifted women who will be taking her place.

Walters’ Legacy

Walters leaves an extraordinary legacy, particularly for young women aspiring to work in the television field.  She was inducted barbara walters whoopi goldberg sherri shepherd jenny mccarthy the viewinto the Television Hall of Fame in 1989, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.  She has also received numerous awards, including several Daytime and Prime Time Emmy Awards, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Women’s Agenda.  She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 30th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards, presented at Lincoln Center.  Amongst her honors, many have been awarded for The View, including the 2003 Daytime Emmy Award for Best Talk Show, as well as the 2009 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.  The View will perhaps be her most lasting and personal legacy.

Extraordinary Final Ratings

Her retirement may have been spurred by a lack of recognition of her achievements by young people, who no longer know who she is.  Like anyone getting on in age, eventually her relevance will fade, as will the advertisers’ interest in her programs.  However, the ratings for her final on-air week on The View reached a three year high.  4.1 million viewers tuned in to see Barbara Walters in her final week, and for the demographic of 18 to 49 year-old women, the week earned a one and a half year high, reaching 648,000 viewers in that group.  Still, the crowd did skew older, with 830,000 women aged 25-54 but only 204,000 of them aged 18-34; nevertheless, those numbers both reached one year highs.

Who Will Her Successor Be?

It is not yet certain who will replace Walters on The View.  Five ideas that have circulated in the press include Robin Roberts, Rachel Maddow, Megyn Kelly, Ellen DeGeneres, or Katie Couric.  Some even suggest that the seat could be filled by a man.  After all, no one could really take her place.