In 1997, ABC was scrambling to fill its 11 am time slot. Barbara Walters, who was already a stalwart of the network, having been around for over two decades, had an idea. She went to the network and gave them her pitch, which became the voiceover for the opening credits in the early season of the show. Walters was heard saying, “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…”
Though Walters had to fight for her vision, she ran a tight ship, keeping the show afloat, even as the ratings held at a steady, just good enough level throughout its early years. However, beginning in the early 2000s, trouble arose. Walters suddenly found one of her cohosts perpetuating dishonesty, until she finally had no choice but to fire her. Contrary to expectations, things only got worse. Walters hired Rosie O’Donnell to fill the empty seat at the table, relying on her star power to boost the sagging ratings. While Rosie did manage to liven up the show, the controversy she wrought just wasn’t worth it.
It was a surprise following Walters departure that O’Donnell would be brought back in. Though Barbara was present for some of the biggest controversies The View had ever seen, she kept such a tight grip on the show that it never spiraled out of control. With her gone, however, the producers have been scrambling to manage one disaster after another, from Rosie O’Donnell, to Whoopie Goldberg, as well as to figure out how to other ladies who will bring the right amount of entertainment value without blowing things up. Even after three years sans Barbara, the show is still fumbling big time.