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A Seat on 'The View' - Who Will Replace Rosie O'Donnell?

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Rosie O'Donnell at SiriusXM's 'Howard Stern Birthday Bash' at Hammerstein Ballroom on January 31, 2014 in New York City.
Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images

The 11th season premiere of The View is quickly approaching, and there’s no word on who will fill the seat of departed co-host Rosie O’Donnell. My sources at the show are keeping very mum, suggesting that – at least in the last month – the field was wide open.

Still, it’s fun to speculate. And there are some clear frontrunners. Here’s my Top Five Picks for New View Host:

1. Whoopi Goldberg:

The well-known actress, comedian and New York City native, best known for the films The Color Purple, Ghost and Sister Act, is my top pick for the job. Since the beginning of July, the actress has been touted by “industry insiders” in any number of supermarket tabloids as the newest co-host. Allegedly, everyone at ABC is bowled over by her winning personality.

And what’s not to like? She smart, she’s funny, she’s opinionated, she’s charismatic. She has the chops, having hosted her own radio talk show, “Wake Up with Whoopi,” via Premiere Radio Networks. She attracts the same audience Rosie attracted – those who like strong, smart, liberal women – as well as a wider audience via her softer delivery.

So what might hold ABC back?

  • First, the same thing that lost them Rosie in Season 11 – money. There’s the question of affordability. I’m willing to bet that Whoopi’s price tag is about the same as Rosie’s.
  • Second, will the producers want to replicate the same dynamic they had with Rosie and her co-hosts? There’s little chance Whoopi’ll stand for much of Elisabeth’s arguments – and she’s going to be able to debate Elisabeth far better than Rosie. How reserved is Whoopi willing to be?
  • And third, will they try to lock her in to more than one season? That was the producer’s fatal flaw with Rosie – they had to negotiate for a second season. By then, her price tag had risen dramatically. Will they try to avoid that with Whoopi? Or will the long-term contract be a no-go for Ms. Goldberg?

Still, with all those questions, I think we’ll hear that Whoopi’s signed on – at least for one year.

2. Kathy Griffin:

Stand-up comedian and star of Bravo’s Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Kathy is reportedly on the short list of possible successors. Why would this comedian – named one of America’s 50 Funniest Women by Oxygen (Oprah Winfrey’s network) – fit well within the quartet?

Good question.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Kathy. She’s unbelievably talented as a stand-up comedian. She’s a good actress. She has remarkable timing. Her wit, unmatchable. But I’m not convinced Kathy’s a great talk show host. At least not yet.

I think she’s in limbo second-place. By that, I mean the producers are likely hemming and hawing over her. She’s funny, smart. Plus. Her interview skills, questionable. Plus, there’s that whole niche of hers in which she skewers half of Tinsel Town – the very people invited on The View. Not to mention her self-proclaimed banning from The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Live with Regis and Kelly, Late Show with David Letterman, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Could she cut it? Probably. Will she get hired. Probably not.

3. Sherri Shepherd:

Sherri’s the actress you’ve seen before, but just can’t place her. For the record, she was Brad Garrett’s character’s police partner on Everybody Loves Raymond and worked in the office with Sara Rue on Less Than Perfect.

She’s been a regular guest host on The View for some time, so it’s only fitting that she at least be in the running. But with talk that she might star in her own talk show, Sherri may perpetually top the guest host list.

One scenario I think is possible: Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg both signed on. Whoopi fills the moderator’s space (Rosie, Meredith Viera) and Sherri fills the Star Jones Reynolds space – still vacant.

This scenario just feels right.

4. Gayle King

How interesting would that be, for Oprah Winfrey’s best friend to become her talk show peer?

Truth told, the Editor-at-Large of O, The Oprah Magazine and co-host of Oprah & Friends has tons of experience in front of the camera. She’s also been on this short list before – first rumored to take Star Jones Reynolds place after the talk show host abruptly left the program in Summer 2006.

She’s been co-hosting regularly, so that’s a signal that Gayle is at least “auditioning” for the role. But I’ve my doubts she’s even second on the list. If I were a producer, all I could think is – “What influence will Oprah eventually have on our program?” Or, “Will people think this is Oprah lite?”

5. Roseanne Barr, Paris Hilton, Paula Abdul

No. No. No.

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