8:30am PT by Erin Carlson
It's Official: Jenny McCarthy Joins 'The View' as Co-host
After much media buzz, Jenny McCarthy has been officially sworn in as a regular panelist on ABC's The View, filling one of two openings created by the departures of Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar.
Behar follows Hasselbeck out the door when her contract ends next month; the latter bid farewell Wednesday as she prepares to embark on a new gig on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends this fall.
As THR previously reported, McCarthy, 40, was in serious talks to join The View as a co-host for the talk show's 17th season, which starts Sept. 9.
"We are delighted that Jenny will be joining us as a permanent co-host on The View starting in September," Barbara Walters said Monday in a statement. "Jenny brings us intelligence as well as warmth and humor. She can be serious and outrageous. She has connected with our audience and offers a fresh point of view. Jenny will be a great addition to the show as we usher in an exciting new chapter of The View."
Said McCarthy: "I'm beyond thrilled to be joining Barbara and the other amazing women at the table. I look forward to making hot topics a little bit hotter and showing my mom that my interrupting skills have paid off."
McCarthy finished a run fronting her own talk show on VH1 last May.
When Hasselbeck finally announced her long-rumored departure, Walters, the show's co-creator and executive producer, noted that the show was in no rush to replace the love-her-or-loathe-her mother of three. "We have plenty of guest hosts, and we¹re going to take our time," said Walters, 83. "We are not going to be filling it very soon."
Although The View remains one of the top-rated daytime programs on TV, the chatfest has seen its audience slip in recent years. This season it has declined in the double-digits among total viewers and women in the 25-54 demographic, upon which the majority of daytime programming is sold to advertisers.
And a market research study commissioned earlier this season by ABC execs showed that viewers were turned off by the political debates that have characterized the show, especially during the era when liberal Rosie O'Donnell and conservative Hasselbeck regularly argued on the air. The study also revealed that Hasselbeck and Behar were deemed too "polarizing," a source told THR.