Barbara Walters appeared as a guest co-host in December, but on Friday, when she returns to the show she co-created, it will be to a View freshly ensconced in uproar and talk of possible extinction.
One panelist, Rosie Perez, is leaving after only four months in the job, and the morning talk show itself is reportedly on the verge of cancellation.
ABC vociferously denies those reports. A spokeswoman laughed off the Daily Mail’s report, telling The Daily Beast: “There are no plans to cancel The View. There are very bright days ahead for the show.”
The spokeswoman insisted ratings had held up stoutly since the Walters’ highly publicized departure from the show last year, and would continue. The Mail suggested ABC had plans to perhaps extend Good Morning America, as NBC has done with Today, and to trial again Good Afternoon America, which ABC first debuted as a nine-week experiment in the summer of 2012.
On Thursday’s show, co-host Rosie O’Donnell, stung by a report in Variety about Perez’s departure, said Whoopi Goldberg would return to The View next Tuesday (“thank the Lord above”) after being hospitalized for a herniated disc.
O’Donnell added, “No matter what you read anywhere, Rosie Perez is also coming back after she is done rehearsing.”
However, The Daily Beast has been told that Perez will not be returning to the hosts’ table after she completes rehearsals for and begins appearing in Larry David’s Broadway play Fish in the Dark.
The same source said Perez had not fully taken into account the demands of making a daily talk show, especially when combined with “trying to do things like appearing in a play.”
Walters will not address the reports of the show’s future or Perez’s own place at the hosts’ table when she appears Friday; the show was recorded Tuesday, before the latest round of stories broke. Walters co-created The View in 1997 with her fellow executive producer Bill Geddie, who also left the show last year.
A source told The Daily Beast that while Walters would continue to make occasional guest appearances at the show’s round table, she would not be appearing for the whole month of January on Fridays to bring some “familiarity back to the show,” as a source suggested to the Mail.
The search is now on for a replacement for Perez. For the last few episodes, with Goldberg and Perez away from the table, producers have been experimenting with younger co-presenters, including Glee alum Naya Rivera and Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child.
If the producers were looking for the show’s hosts to generate publicity, Rivera has been the most recently successful. On Tuesday, she set off a social-media firestorm when she said showering daily was “such a white person thing.” The next day, she apologized for her words.