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Ahead of its 20th season, The View took a look back at the history of the ABC talk show in a primetime special that aired Tuesday night.
The View: 20 Years in the Making, hosted by longtime co-host Joy Behar, featured clips and interviews that highlighted the program’s origins and memorable moments and even debuted a new, original theme song for season 20.
Creator Barbara Walters and founding executive producer Bill Geddie reminisced in solo interviews, as did original co-hosts Meredith Vieira, Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos. Later co-hosts Lisa Ling, Sherri Shepherd, Candace Cameron Bure and Michelle Collins shared their View memories. But viewers hoping to hear high-profile former co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck reveal some new information about their time on the show, including their infamous split-screen fight, were likely disappointed as neither O’Donnell nor Hasselbeck made an appearance.
Bill O’Reilly’s revelation that he loved when Behar and Whoopi Goldberg famously walked off the set during his interview was teased in advance, as was the trivia tidbit that, funnily enough, the first five women put together for auditions, in a midtown Manhattan hotel where they talked about topics in the news, ended up being the original group of co-hosts selected for the series.
Still, there were a few surprising nuggets shared during the hour, which The Hollywood Reporter has compiled below.
The ABC standards department didn’t think the show would be “a problem” because it wasn’t expected to feature discussions about contentious topics.
While much of the special highlighted how The View wasn’t afraid to explore topics that led to heated debates, that wasn’t necessarily what ABC expected from a Barbara Walters-created daytime show.
“I remember going to broadcast standards, people who tell you what you can and can’t say,” said Geddie. “And they said, ‘I’m sure your show won’t be a problem because it’s under Barbara Walters.’ And they said, ‘Well you’re not going to talk about politics, religion, abortion, sex?’ I go, ‘Yes, yes, yes and yes.'”
Indeed, the show has explored all of those topics and others, often producing jaw-dropping comments from the co-hosts and on-air spats.
An early Behar-RuPaul on-air dispute was real and indicated to Geddie that the show was great TV.
Shortly after The View‘s Aug. 11, 1997, debut, RuPaul stopped by as a guest. During the interview, he started critiquing Behar’s outfit and the co-host was not amused.
“Joy got genuinely angry at RuPaul and said, ‘You think that I’m going to take fashion advice from a drag queen?!’ He was mad at her. They genuinely did not like each other in that moment,” Geddie recalled. “And I thought, ‘You don’t see this stuff on TV — this is great.'”
Someone sent Walters a “basket of vibrators.”
In 2014, Walters made headlines when the veteran journalist seemingly revealed on The View that she owns a vibrator. Her comments inspired at least one company to send her a “basket of vibrators,” according to co-host Shepherd.
The collection of devices included “blinged-out vibrators, fuchsia-colored vibrators, vibrators that I never want to see in my life again vibrating,” said Shepherd.
Vieira’s biggest struggle was not crying.
In their solo interviews, the View co-hosts talked about some of their favorite and least favorite moments as well as some of the challenges they faced, particularly with respect to opening up about their personal lives. But original moderator Vieira revealed that her biggest struggle was an emotional one.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve and if I was talking about [my husband] Richard’s health or the fact that I’d had a lot of miscarriages, what I never wanted to do was start crying,” she said. “That for me was always a struggle: to rein it in enough that you don’t just become a puddle of tears.”
Mary J. Blige’s new theme song
The View saved its biggest surprise for last, revealing the video for season 20’s new, original theme song, performed by Mary J. Blige, who also appears in the video, dancing along with all of the season 20 co-hosts as well as Sunny Hostin and Jedediah Bila, who are expected to make frequent appearances in the new season. Watch the clip below.
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