Title: The View
- Barbara Walters (1997 to Present)
- Whoopi Goldberg (2007 to Present)
- Joy Behar (1997 to Present)
- Elisabeth Hasselbeck (2003 to Present)
- Sherri Shepherd (2007 to Present)
- Rosie O'Donnell
- Meredith Vieira
- Star Jones
- Debbie Matenopoulous (1997 to 1998)
- Lisa Ling (1999 to 2002)
Format: One-hour, panelist talk show
Broadcast information: ABC, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET
Tapes: Weekdays, ABC Television Studios in New York City.
Premiere Date: Aug. 11, 1997
Created by well-renowned journalist Barbara Walters and producer Bill Geddie, The View loosens up the talk show format by turning the reins over to a panel of hosts, rather than one host behind a desk or on a couch.
Lest anyone mistake what the show is all about, Walters, in voice-over, explains in concisely and succinctly every day during the show’s opening credits:
“I've always wanted to do a show with women of different generations, backgrounds and views: a working mother; a professional in her 30s; a young woman just starting out; and then somebody who's done almost everything and will say almost anything. And in a perfect world, I'd get to join the group whenever I wanted....”
The result is conversation with many parts and varied angles, a concept somewhat unique in today’s talk show world. And while the talk show landscape is dotted with female hosts – there’s still something unique about The View that no one has been able to capture.
The show’s format is fairly simple, though it is incredibly fluid. A day might look like this:
- Open with discussion about the topics of the day, with conversation steered by a moderator, in this case, Whoopi Goldberg.
- Follow with banter and a guest.
- Continue with guest or more conversation among the group.
- Second guest
- Third guest
But just as typical is a day with one guest taking up the bulk of the show’s segments, or a day dedicated specifically to Hot Topics, during which the hosts chat about headlines in the news for the entire hour.
For its first half dozen seasons – or more – The View was the quiet little talk show that had a good following, but never delved too deep into controversy. It wasn’t edgy at all – unless you count the quick departure of highly criticized Debbie Matenopoulos.
Not until Season 9 did the little show turn into the scandalous one. It was during that season that co-host Meredith Vieira announced her departure to take on co-anchor duties on The Today Show. Rosie O’Donnell was named co-host. Since there was perceived bad blood between O’Donnell and co-host Star Jones, some speculated that Jones would leave as well.
And she did – but not before surprising the cast by announcing her departure on air. She said she’d stick with the program for four more weeks – but was gone the next day. Since then, Star has starred in her own talk show, Star Jones, on truTV. It has since been cancelled.
O’Donnell’s arrival gave The View a huge ratings boost, giving the show its highest ratings ever. But the outspoken talk show host’s tendency to speak her mind created its own set of problems. Her feuds made headlines – especially her very public brawl with Donald Trump. Some of O’Donnell’s statements were deemed outrageous (including her comment that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam") and her arguments with conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck turned the show from edgy to on edge.
When contract negotiations seemed to stall(O’Donnell originally signed on for only one year), O’Donnell announced that she, too, would depart the program. Like Jones, the departure was less than amicable, and Rosie cut her final days short.
As The View began its search for another moderator, the show was presented with two problems – maintaining the buzz that O’Donnell created by being outspoken and toning it down so as not to upset the balance of the show (or try the audiences’ patience).
Several co-hosts were considered, including Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, but the show settled on Whoopi Goldberg. When she accepted the offer, Goldberg was quick to point out that she would speak her mind, but that she knew how to play nice, too.
Once Sherri Shepherd joined the program in September 2008, the show was back to full strength, with all five co-host seats occupied.
While The View regularly engages in discussion about hot topics in the news, it isn’t without its own hot topics:
Goldberg’s Views on Michael Vick: After former NFL player Michael Vick was convicted of animal cruelty and illegally running a dog fighting ring, Goldberg partially defended his actions, saying on The View that Vick was "from the South, from the Deep South... This is part of his cultural upbringing... For a lot of people, dogs are sport... Instead of just saying (Vick) is a beast and he's a monster, this is a kid who comes from a culture where this is not questioned." Her comments brought about criticism from many viewers, including the Humane Society.
Vocabulary: A debate about the use of particular slur toward African-Americans generated so much discussion that it continued on CNN’s Larry King Live. While Hasselbeck said she couldn’t understand why anyone could use this particular word, Goldberg and Shepherd defended its use in the African-American community by saying that “a word has meaning when you give it meaning."
2008 Election: Quite simply, Hasselbeck’s conservative views collided several times with her more liberal counterparts, and debate often centered around Gov. Sarah Palin’s experience, then the vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket. And Goldberg was seen stumping for the defeat of Proposition 8, a measure that passed in California banning gay marriage.