“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 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.