In Depth

Women in Television: The Women of ‘The View’

Who: Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd

Women in TV

Why: The women of “The View” have fearlessly, relentlessly and loudly redefined the “talk” in talk show. Day after day they prove that politics, religion, race, mores, fashion and frivolity are endlessly engaging subjects for conversation—even when the conversation verges on verbal blood sport followed by teary protestations that “no women were harmed in the making of this conversation.” Their Borscht Belt-spiced bark-and-bite banter has become the gift that keeps on giving publicity and ratings. In the weeks leading up to the much-debated presidential election, “The View” set viewership records, proving that the show, in its 12th and most diverse season, has never been stronger, more watchable or more quotable.

What: While the cable news networks that rode the historic presidential campaign to huge ratings wait to see how hard the post-election landing may be, “The View’s” panelists are not worried the show or its microcosmic conversations will cool off.

“‘Hot Topics’ will remain both hot and topical—we’ll always have plenty to talk about,” said Ms. Goldberg, the moderator.

“I expect the volume level of the ‘Hot Topics’ after the election to be around 8 [on a scale of 1 to 10] because, no matter who wins, there will always be plenty to talk about,” said Ms. Behar.

“‘Dancing With the Stars’ will be my favorite ‘Hot Topic,’” said Ms. Shepherd, the newly politicized swing vote between the always liberal Goldberg-Behar wing of the quintet and the always conservative Ms. Hasselbeck. The latter said, “If we run out of hot topics, I will just have another kid.”

Creator and co-executive producer Ms. Walters said: “There will continue to be political discussions: the new cabinet, new promises and old grudges. Then there are the standby topics: sex, scandals, celebrities, our personal rants and, most important, whatever is in the news that day. You name it, we will argue it.”