When an icon like Barbara Walters departs a show, she can never be truly replaced or exchanged but The View is somewhat obliged to at least try to find a savvy newsperson to fill her seat and provide an authoritative voice for the group. They also have to replace Jenny McCarthy and Sherry Shepherd, which is a much easier task. In fact, they retrieved Rosie O’Donnell from storage and, despite her less than gracious exit from the show years ago, will put her back on the panel, perhaps hoping for a “new and improved” version. And that still leaves two empty chairs on the set.
In show business, especially television, situations can change on a dime, so it is important to have a list of replacements just in case the new (or revived) cast members don’t quite click. This list of women includes a fair balance of talented candidates with a wide range of talents ranging from stand-up comedy to political commentary. The key is for them to have the stamina to hold their own against the veterans, five days a week, without losing their tempers or their unique perspectives
Alley, best known for her comedic breakout role of Rebecca on Cheers in the late ’80s, has a self-deprecating persona that’s appealing to a wide audience. Critics have had her down for the count many times over the past two decades and she’s bounced back with new sitcoms and lead dramatic roles in TV movies on a variety of networks. She’s also had a lot of drama in her personal life surrounding weight and relationship challenges. Toss in a lifelong dedication to Scientology and a best friend named John Travolta and you’ve got an interesting candidate.
Not that The View needs help in the ratings, but if they ever did – and it can happen to the most beloved and longest running shows – Roberts is the woman you want on your team. The Good Morning America anchor was instrumental in edging out The Today Show for the ratings lead they held for years. Roberts’ heroic struggle against cancer inspired women around the world, as did her choice to come out as a lesbian and introduce her partner to the public. The View has always prided itself in presenting a diverse panel of strong willed women with distinct points of view and Roberts is a perfect contender.
Griffin‘s comedic talents are undeniable and she has an engaging stage presence that charms across the board. But the cast of The View didn’t appreciate her trademark potty-mouth when she was a guest and found her so off-putting, she was banned from the show. If she could keep her comments and jokes clean – and put the commitment in writing with legal/monetary penalties attached – she might be considered. It would be worth the risk to see her face off with Goldberg, who successfully cleaned up her language when she joined The View, so much so that she’s now their official moderator.
The darling of cable news channel MSNBC, at 41, Maddow would be the youngest woman on the panel (the departing Jenny McCarthy is the same age). Her political views skew far left but Newsweek noted that Maddow has an endearing quality that enables her to successfully argue “ideological opponents with civility and persistence.” The appeal of abandoning her successful one-woman show to join a team of chattering females five days a week is hard to fathom but Maddow would definitely add a thread of intellectual banter to the festivities.
Although Mo’Nique broke into show business as a stand-up comic, her superior talents as a dramatic film star shone bright in her award-winning roles in such classic movies as Precious and The Help. An outspoken supporter of the acceptance of large women, Mo’Nique’s written two highly acclaimed non-fiction books on the topic. She can elicit tears of laughter through her acerbic humor or tears of pathos telling of her real life experiences. While various panel members of the view often come across as one-trick ponies, Mo’Nique would add depth to discussions by being able to switch ponies midstream.
As far right as Maddow is left, Kelly’s rise to stardom on Fox News began 10 years ago when she was hired as a Washington-based correspondent for the station. A decade later, she has her own weekly show called The Kelly File that focuses on breaking stories of national interest and interviews with noteworthy newsmakers. Kelly’s former job as a litigator would guarantee she’d clearly get her points across, above the din of the often loud panel discussions. Her contacts span the national and international political spectrum, so she’d probably be able to lure some big names to the show.
Cho‘s energy and fortitude would meld quite nicely with the existing panel. She’s graduated with honors from several schools of hard knocks in her career and personal life, going from stand-up comedian to sitcom actress to touring the world solo as well as part of a music/comedy group with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry and Erasure. Currently starring on the USA Network hit Drop Dead Diva, Cho won a battle with a life-threatening eating disorder and overcame a myriad of self-image issues, emerging with a sly smile and razor-sharp wit. Her worldly experience and distinct takes on life would contribute to the quality of The View.
There’s a blatant lack of Latin representation on The View. Vergara would fill that gap and her free-flowing comedic delivery coupled with her (often intentional) mispronunciation of words and frank comments about sex and politics would blend well with the current panelists. Full of energy, the Modern Family star exudes a positive vibe The View sometimes needs and the audience would be glued to the screen hoping for comments about her hunky boyfriend Joe Manganiello.
Sykes is another candidate that can switch from family-based jokes to insightful political comments with ease. Delightful as a stand-up comedian as well as a comedic actress, Sykes recently counseled contestants on style and content for the stand-up comedy competition show Last Comic Standing, proving she can wax academic as well. But much like Kathy Griffith, Sykes might find the constraints of an ongoing morning talk show too restrictive to speak her mind, which is the most appealing part of her persona.
Though not quite the icon Walters is, for 57 years old, Couric will be remembered as one of the major newswomen of our time. Through years of being criticized for her squeaky voice and cheerleader spunk and smile, Couric not only endured but emerged a winner on several major networks. Her inquisitive nature and lust for truth would keep The View entertaining as well as informative for years to come.