Barbara Walters launched The View in 1997, and judging from Ramin Setoodeh’s forthcoming explosive expose, Ladies Who Punch, she was a bit of a control freak. When she launched the show, she hand-picked the panel, which included Joy Behar, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos and Meredith Viera; when Jones left in 2006, she brought Rosie O’Donnell on.
But after just a year, O’Donnell was on Walters’ bad side, having drawn negative attention from bold-faced viewers like Kelly Ripa, and allegedly not getting along with then-exec producer Bill Geddie, per the book. So Walters threatened to quit if O’Donnell didn’t get the boot.
“If you re-sign Rosie to this show, Bill and I are going to quit,” Walters, 89, told ABC Daytime President Brian Frons in 2007 over dinner at Spago in Beverly Hills, according to Ladies Who Punch.
O’Donnell, 57, did exit, and reappeared briefly in 2014 only after Walters left.
When Walters stepped down, she thought the show would be canceled, the book alleges.
“I'm really sad,” Matenopoulos recalls telling Walters, according to the book. “My mom wants me to tell you, you can't do this! Nobody is going to watch the show after you leave.”
“Oh, baby,” Walters then responded loudly. “How long can the show go on? It's going to be canceled in a few years.”
But even though she’s stepped back, Walters still tried to run the show, according to the book. She would call the control room, and even told the book’s author that she didn’t like several of the hosts who came after her.
Short-lived co-hosts on The View have included Candace Cameron Bure, Jenny McCarthy, Raven-Symone and Sara Haines.