What do you get if you bring together a devoted mother, a divorcee, a single romantic, a mature career woman and a hip Generation X-er? An explosive range of opinions that makes The View seem like Congress.
What do you get if you bring together a devoted mother, a divorcee,
a single romantic, a mature career woman and a hip Generation X-er? An
explosive range of opinions that makes The View seem like Congress.
The weekday talk show is the creation of the legendary interviewer
Barbara Walters, 67, who said she wanted a program along the lines of
Virginia Graham’s Girl Talk from the 1960s. The idea was simple: to have
a group of women talking about topics that interest them.
The late morning show (10 am to 11 am in Los Angeles, 11 am to noon in
New York), which launched in August 1997, has built a strong
Some viewers even get up at 5 am to post comments on the ABC message
boards about the previous day’s subject matter. And the show’s secret
It’s one of the few daytime programs that provides the ’me time’ that
’We want to do pieces on how to have better sex, better hair. We look at
diets, fashion, medicine and herbal remedies,’ says co-executive
producer Bill Geddie, a former Good Morning America producer who has
worked with Walters for 12 years.
While these subjects are also covered by the early morning shows, The
View approaches them from an angle Geddie describes as a mix between
Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan.
Walters, whose company, Barwal Productions, makes The View in
partnership with ABC, appears on the show only twice a week. The rest of
the time she is co-executive producer and calls the shots from home on
her days off. Walters, who once worked for a public relations company,
hired a real potpourri of personalities to keep the daily debates hot.
The four other hosts have such distinct outlooks that they could almost
be the Spice Girls.
Star Jones, full first name Starlet, is something of a ’Scary Spice.’
Jones is a lawyer and arguably the show’s most-opinionated
’I hate dogs,’ she blurted out during one conversation. In an interview
with former Clinton aide Dick Morris, Jones caused a storm when she told
him to stop touching her.
Joy Behar is a professional comedienne with a sandpaper voice. She
provides much of the witty repartee on the show. Former ABC News
correspondent Meredith Vieira is the show’s mother figure. She talks
about her children on air and is known for her guilty conscience.
The Baby Spice is reticent, 26-year-old Lisa Ling, who still appears a
little intimidated by her co-hosts. Ling replaced Debbie Matenopoulos,
the former MTV assistant who parted company with The View after she was
constantly parodied on Saturday Night Live as an airhead.
Together these strong women deliver their own thoughts on serious news
topics such as the AOL-Time Warner merger and a 54-year-old grandmother
who gave birth to triplets. Then there are theoretical discussions, such
as whether the hosts could love a guy with a history of drug
Geddie says the show has evolved over two-and-a-half years. ’It is a
little more irreverent and a lot more fun,’ he says. ’We know what works
and what doesn’t.’
Geddie says he gets ideas for the show from a wide variety of sources
ranging from The New York Times to Cosmopolitan. Each installment of The
View is planned some two months in advance, while guest bookings are
made around four to eight weeks prior to their appearances. So if you’re
looking for a placement from the talent bookers, don’t leave it until
the last minute.
Some stars the show booked this month include NYPD Blue’s Nick Turturro
and Law and Order’s Richard Belzer. Geddie does admit there are changes
right up until the show airs to keep it current.
The View’s web site carries information about the week’s guests as well
as feature segments.
Recent features have included a work out with Las Vegas showgirls -
ABC’s Las Vegas affiliate had just added the show to its schedule - and
a feature about grilling your gynecologist.
While Geddie says his team is happy to listen to suggestions, pitching
is not easy. Patti Straus, public relations director at Real Simple, a
new Time Warner magazine, says the show constantly attempts to stir the
’They often work off the news for stories, and they are looking for
controversy,’ she says.
If it doesn’t ’make sparks,’ then it isn’t going to work, Geddie
Sex is a popular topic while history is not. Anything to do with kids,
such as toys, is a pitching no-go. ’The audience just did not respond to
it,’ Geddie says, underlining the fact that this show puts women
He also advises people to pitch their ideas for specific segments. The
Hot Topics section could see the hosts yakking about your press release
if it’s ’hot and spicy,’ he says.
Star Jones fronts sections that focus on fashion trends and gives
viewers make-over opportunities. She also works on emotional trauma
issues in Star’s Heart-to-Heart. Meredith’s Guilt Trip talks to experts
about the trials of being a mother, while Joy’s specialty is comedy and
she invites comedians on the show. (Geddie suggests sending a show reel
if you have a potential guest comedian.) Lisa Ling has two beats -
popular culture and Ling’s Money Thing, a segment on keeping your
Geddie keeps a report card of all the guests who drew high ratings and
the ones who had viewers going back to their housework. ’TV stars work
better than the movies,’ he says. That, however, is not to say the show
isn’t interested in movie stars. Guests have included Kate Winslet and
Additionally, handsome young men work well on this decidedly
estrogen-fueled show, though some have expressed fear that they’ll be
eaten for lunch by the hosts. But Geddie says it isn’t a hostile
environment, it’s just an opinionated show. What did you expect from a
program called The View?
320 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
Tel: (212) 456 0900
Fax: (212) 456 0951
Executive producers: Barbara Walters, Bill Geddie
Jessica Stedman Guff, Mark Lipinski
Donald Berman (celebrities), Susan Solomon (books and sports)