This story first appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
ABC’s bid to refresh The View brought the show’s most-watched premiere in eight years in September (even after some downward adjustment thanks to Nielsen’s snafu). But those lofted ratings quickly have fallen to earth.
The show’s 18th season, with Rosie O’Donnell back at the table and joined by veteran Whoopi Goldberg, actress Rosie Perez and Republican analyst Nicolle Wallace, has seen post-premiere-week viewership drop below last year, back when the need for a Barbara Walters-free makeover became apparent.
It’s not that the numbers are bad. View recently averaged a competitive 2.8 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in women 25-to-54. But its showing in the key demo is pacing downward for the fourth straight season and is 30 percent south of where it was five years ago. It doesn’t help that The View‘s advantage over CBS’ The Talk now is negligible. Recent weeks have seen the two shows evenly matched in the two key female demos. And where View once had a 68 percent advantage in viewers over Julie Chen and company, this season that lead isn’t even in the double digits.