The idea Barbara
Walters had for The View a decade ago was a
multigenerational panel of women hosting something akin
to Regis Philbin's Live crossed with ABC
News' This Week.
It was a great
idea, and it worked for years. But lately The View
seems to be adding The Jerry Springer Show to
the sisters were doing it for themselves, now they seem
just a little too keen to do it to each other. In the
process, they're tarnishing the series with discord
and tacky behavior.
in sight for The View upon the imminent arrival
of Rosie O'Donnell as its new panelist and, omigosh,
its moderator? Anything but moderate, is Rosie really
the right choice to restore cohesiveness, fruitful
debate, and good vibes to this sisterly salon?
She joins the
show (which airs weekdays at 11 a.m. Eastern time on
ABC) on Tuesday, September 5, as it starts its 10th season.
But she seems less a solution than another problem
brewing. And an odd replacement for Meredith Vieira
(who left in June for NBC's Today).
show's original moderator, was both traffic cop and
cutup, not to mention easy on the eyes. With equal
dexterity she could drop a candid revelation (say, her
personal aversion to underwear) or draw on her
distinguished TV news background for the "Hot
Topics" segment that kicks off each hour. She
even displayed a knack for handling the increasingly
diva-ish, exhibitionist Star Jones Reynolds.
wore out her welcome and was fired or quit (take your
pick) in June. That took care of the tacky behavior.
But the strained
mood remains, in no small part thanks to Elisabeth
Hasselbeck, who since late 2003 has filled the show's
20-something slot, despite acting more like a
high-strung teenage priss.
the other remaining charter member is Joy Behar, a
standup comic whose role as the middle-aged wag has become
more urgent as she's called upon to use her wit
to help defuse the tension.
only the show's grande dame can put the brakes on
Hasselbeck's motor-mouth. Growing more and more
exercised during a recent discussion of the
"day-after" birth control pill, she finally
compelled Walters to restore order.
"Elisabeth," said Walters with
Will Walters be
forced to keep Rosie in line too?
To put it mildly,
Rosie is a creature of extremes. She was dubbed the
"Queen of Nice" for her hit daytime talk show
that aired for six years starting in 1996. But one
element of this overwrought "niceness" was her
fetish for celebrities.
mooned over Tom ("my Tommy") Cruise, of
course. But her fawning reached record heights with
the legendary visit to her show by Barbra Streisand,
whom Rosie received with a pageant of trembling hands,
confessions of nervous diarrhea, and a sobbing pronouncement
that "you were a constant source of light in an
often dark childhood."
swings between blinding light and oppressive darkness.
Around the time
she called it quits for her show in May 2002 (to help
raise her four children with her partner, Kelli
O'Donnell), she formally announced she was a
lesbian--or "just a big-mouthed fat
lesbian" who "ain't so
nice," as she described herself a few months later in
her standup comedy act.
magazine, Rosie, ended its stormy 21-month run
in December 2002, by which time she had already bailed,
claiming the publishers had wrested control from her.
Dueling lawsuits and damning testimony about her
unhinged management style came next.
In 2003 she
produced a Broadway musical, Taboo, that starred
pop-star has-been Boy George. It closed after three
months, losing most of her $10 million stake.
about to start a new gig, and, though unavailable for press
interviews, she's been yacking about it on her
blog--not always in the most collegial terms.