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The Insider: The Point of ‘The View’

Apr 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Insider has watched “The View” since the day it debuted in 1997.
The sort of conversation that has always been at the heart of the ABC Daytime show has always been essential to The Insider’s personal quality of life: rowdy, rambling, overlapping, unpredictable, imperfect and chock full of sentence fragments that will stay with you for a long time because they widened your eyes, for better or worse, to how someone else sees you or the world.
To coin a phrase: Life is what happens in between those moments. You can’t force them, you can only try to make it possible for them to happen.
As Barbara Walters, who developed “The View” with her longtime executive producer Bill Geddie, said last week during a panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media in New York: “It isn’t easy, you know. Chemistry is a very strange thing.”
She spoke of the number of times someone had tried to copy “The View’s” formula of disparate personalities and ages—“when the ‘Today’ show has extra shows” and “various times on CBS”—and said, “We haven’t seen any of them really succeed.”
Mr. Geddie talked about the freedom they’ve got to do the topics they want in the way they want and to strive for the authenticity that can’t be found elsewhere, but noted that comes from heartfelt conversation, even when it produces discomfort.
Joy Behar, the only one of Ms. Walters’ founding co-hosts still there, described lone conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck as “a tough cookie” for taking on her more liberal ensemble members.
“Lord knows how Elisabeth does it, but day after day she holds up her end and of course most of us think she’s absolutely wrong, but that’s OK,” Ms. Walters joked. She also said this season has been the happiest yet for the show.
She said that when it comes to the hottest of hot topics this year, politics, which “The View” has addressed in conversation and with candidates as guests: “We’re not Tim Russert, but we’re also not five empty-headed women.”
Comedian and actress and former apolitical Jehovah’s Witness Sherri Shepherd told the packed Paley Center room how her political education had been jump-started by her co-hosts and their political interests.
Freshman moderator Whoopi Goldberg, who described herself as more of a “fuddy duddy” than her inclination to say what’s on her mind might lead people to think, said she thinks that after seven years in which disagreement sometimes was branded as anti-American, perhaps “The View” can “re-teach people how to have the discussion and still have coffee afterwards.”
Of course, the ladies of “The View” have had some disagreements that ended in exits, not coffee. Ms. Behar recalled how Star Jones would want the crew to go out for champagne on some of the bad days that preceded her departure in 2006.
“We had a lot of champagne,” Ms. Walters said.
“I hope you heard that sentence,” Paley Center President and CEO Pat Mitchell, who moderated the session, said to the audience.
Ms. Shepherd said the presence of three comics on the panel has not seemed to produce conflict this season.
“I wrangled with Rosie O’Donnell last year, and she’s a comic too,” Ms. Behar said. “Barbara, weren’t you concerned that would be a conflict? Two comedians on the panel?”
“That was the least of our problems,” Ms. Walters said with a perfect deadpan.
“When I see this on YouTube, I’m going to deny it,” she said at program’s end.
One thing she won’t deny: Her sound bite of a plug for her long-awaited memoir, “Audition,” which will be published by Knopf May 6. “I want you all to read this book. And the nude pictures are just terrific.”

3 Comments

  1. Sherri Shepherd must be the dumbest talkshow host/co-host in the history of television or radio — period. And Hasslebeck is the dumbest female conservative that Barbara Walters could find. Shepherd and Hasslebeck are only there for obvious reasons — to fill certain population “slots”, and to make the other liberals look and feel like geniuses, which is the only way the liberal morons could ever attain the semblance of genius.

  2. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  3. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

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