'The View' Co-Hosts, Co-Executive Producer Talk Staffing Rumors, Lessons Learned
The long-running ABC talk show kicked off its 20th season amid an increasingly challenging daytime landscape.
The View kicked off its 20th season on Tuesday, officially welcoming new co-host Sara Haines. While Haines is the only new panelist, the ABC talk show also told viewers when Haines' hire was announced to expect frequent appearances from regular guest co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Jedediah Bila, amid rumors that current co-hosts Raven-Symone and Paula Faris could be on their way out the door.
Raven-Symone, Hostin and Bila weren't present for the season premiere, but co-executive producer Brian Teta defended the show's current roster, without specifically expressing support for Raven-Symone or Faris, when he spoke to The Hollywood Reporter after Tuesday's episode.
"I think we're really lucky to have a deep bench. Our co-hosts are our co-hosts. They're not going anywhere," said Teta, who joined the show before season 19. "We're also able to bring in people like Jedediah Bila, who has a viewpoint that maybe was underrepresented on this show a little bit. There's a perception that our panel can be a little on the liberal side, and while that might not entirely be accurate, Jedediah has a strong libertarian point of view, which is a helpful thing to have. We have hosts that are very talented and have other things going on. Candace [Cameron Bure] has Fuller House. Whoopi [Goldberg]'s doing dates all over the country. So when opportunities happen for them, we're able to find the best combination of women that are here to take care of The View."
Faris, for her part, indicated she's not letting outside gossip about her performance and role on The View affect her.
"Once you get to a certain level, people are always going to come at you," she said. "And that's the one thing I never really experienced until I started doing this show, and I understand that's just par for the course when you work in daytime TV. Listen, I'm back. And I think there's always going to be rumors, but I tell my kids, 'It's your attitude and it's how you handle everything that's written about you, handle everything that's said about you — that is something that nobody else can take away from you.' As long as, at the end of the day, I'm proud of my work, I'm proud of who I am and I've treated people with respect and done a really good job and presented myself how I wanted to be presented, no matter what happens, it's OK. You can't control everything."
The ABC News correspondent and Good Morning America weekend co-anchor said she was still learning but felt more comfortable in her second year on The View.
"The freshmen nerves are gone, I guess you would say. You walk into a room and it's comfortable and there are familiar faces and you know the dynamics of the show and there's established chemistry," Faris told THR of her mood going into her second season. "Last year I came in and I hadn't really had any sort of engagement with anybody on the panel. So it was like throwing five strangers onto a set to talk about hot topics. This year we're all very familiar with one another. I think there's just this sense of familiarity, which hasn't always necessarily been the case for The View in recent history … instead of feeling like a nervous freshman, I feel like a sophomore. I've got a little more experience under my belt, but I've got a lot more to learn."
As for what that full season of experience has given her, Faris listed a "thick skin," and learning to "stand [her] ground," "pick [her] battles" and "disagree but disagree respectfully." She added that The View's format, she believes, has helped to make her a better TV personality.
"First and foremost I'm a journalist, and that will always be my clear career path, but doing The View and having to present an argument instead of just stating facts and stats, which we typically do as journalists, but building a case for or against something, that's made me a better broadcaster because I think I'm just more researched, I'm more read-in and I'm more ready for anything that comes my way," said Faris.
Fellow returning co-host Candace Cameron Bure, who also joined The View last season, said that her year on the talk show had given her "confidence" as opposed to dealing with "the unexpected" her first year.
"So that in and of itself is a big difference, to come in knowing exactly what I'm doing, exactly what to expect," she said. "We know the conversations can always turn in unexpected ways, but I'm not the rookie this year and that feels good."
Like her GMA colleague and close friend Faris, Haines said she was happy to have the chance to participate in extended conversations about current events and politics.
"My brand in morning TV, which I love, is fun, giggly, silly — that's very much a part of me. But there's another part to me that people who are close to me get as well, which is I do want to talk about what's going on in the world, I do have opinions about those things," said Haines. "One thing I miss most about college are those late-night conversations where you didn't get your homework done but you ended up talking about some topic and then finally you had to go to bed. You don't get that a lot in adult life. I feel like being on a show where we have to read into these things, you're gonna talk about them, people are going to disagree, you've got to know your points. It just makes you sharper, more polished, informed, and now I have to do the homework because I have a job that pays me to, and that's cool."
Haines was visibly excited on her first episode and was still bubbling with enthusiasm after Tuesday's show wrapped, calling her finally being introduced as the show's new co-host after months of guest co-hosting a "pinch-me moment," and joking that she was afraid she'd be stopped from walking onstage as if she wasn't actually part of the panel.
Going forward, Haines said she hopes to continue to earn her spot.
"I hope to live up to the rep of show," she said. "It's been an honor to be asked to be a part of this show that you just hope you don't drop the ball. You hope you bring something that adds to the brand and the institution because I feel pretty humbled to be here."
The View starts its 20th season as daytime TV has become an increasingly challenging part of broadcast networks' schedules, with multiple shows coming and going in recent years, including former co-host Meredith Vieira's solo talk show. When asked what's kept The View, which was moved into ABC's news division in 2014, alive for so long, Teta attributed the show's longevity to its talent, including longtime co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, and the audience in turn wanting to hear those women weigh in on various issues.
"We're lucky enough to have Joy Behar for 18 of these 20 seasons. Whoopi Goldberg for 10 of them. People at home understand what the brand means and I think they understand what they're going to get when they turn on a live show at 11 o'clock, and I think they care about what these women have to say about things that happen in this country," said Teta. "When there's a tragedy, when there's a large news event, I know for a fact that people are tuning in to see how Whoopi's going to deal with it. When Donald Trump says something silly, I know people are tuning in to see what Joy says about it. It's something they can count on. It's a brand that they know what to expect with. And I think it's not going anywhere."
Speaking of Trump, The View has become a regular stop for presidential hopefuls, with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and various former presidential candidates all stopping by the talk show. Even Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is set to appear on Thursday's show. But while he's called in to The View, Trump has yet to appear on the show since he announced his presidential run. (The real estate mogul did previously appear on The View in person a number of times, including a few years ago.) But Teta said an appearance from Trump the presidential candidate is still possible.
"I'd love to have Donald on the show. He was on a phoner last season and mentioned a couple of times during the phone call that he would be coming here. Since the phone call, I think he's changed his stance on coming on the show," said Teta. "But, you know what, Donald said he'd never talk to Megyn Kelly again and then he was on with her. So everything's open. He's a candidate for the highest office in the land, and of course we'd be thrilled to have him on."