Sunny Hostin

‘The View’ Casts a Wide Net for New Lineup

By Alex Weprin for

July 24, 2014 - ABC's "The View" is casting a wide net as it seeks to fill out its panel next season, with Barbara Walters, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd not returning and only Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O'Donnell confirmed as co-hosts. That leaves at least two, and possibly three, seats to fill.

It is clear that the producers of "The View" are in the midst of a wide-ranging tryout phase, looking for at least one conservative panelist to offset the outspoken liberal politics of O'Donnell, and possibly a male co-host as well.

Leaks (often from agents or people close to those involved), have so far named Pivot's Meghan McCain, CNN's S.E. Cupp and MSNBC's Abby Huntsman as possible candidates. Indeed, all three have guest-hosted the program multiple times in recent weeks, suggesting that they may be favorites. (Update: During a tour of her apartment with Refinery29, McCain says she has no plans to join "The View")

For any of these hosts, a slot on "The View" would be a dream job. The program may have had a rough season, as CBS' "The Talk" caught up in the ratings, but it is still a powerful force in daytime TV. The show averages just under three million total viewers each week; around 700,000 of those viewers are in the adults 25-54 demo. Those numbers are beyond what most cable news programs can offer, and much more than any local station.

That explains the lobbying in the press, as agents and friends of prospects tell reporters that ABC is eyeing their respective horse in the race.

With the stakes in mind, the network does not appear to be resting on its laurels. It has mined a slew of fields for replacements, most notably cable news. In addition to Cupp, McCain and Huntsman, the program has CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin filling in next week (she has guest-hosted before), as well as ABC and CNN political contributor Ana Navarro and WNYW anchor and occasional Fox News anchor Juliet Huddy. Previous cable and network news guest co-hosts in recent weeks included Bloomberg anchor Stephanie Ruhle, Fusion anchor Alicia Menendez (who is co-hosting the show today as well) and ABC's Sara Haines.

"The View" is looking beyond cable news as well. WTTG Fox 5 DC chief investigative reporter editor Emily Miller will be guest-hosting next week, as will "Good Day LA" contributor Lauren Sanchez, "WGN Morning News" host Ana Belaval and radio host Carolina Bermudez. "The View" has also had a number of male guest-hosts, including Ross Matthews, Bill Rancic, CNN contributor Will Cain, ESPN's Jesse Palmer and even pollster and cable news regular Frank Luntz.

"The View" didn't invent the panel format, but it proved that it worked in a way that could incorporate current events, politics and entertainment. "The Talk," "The Five" and "The Cycle" have all followed, but with openings on the originator available, interested parties are circling like sharks to chum.

ABC is simply putting them in front of the cameras and seeing how it plays out.

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