The book dives deep into the show’s many firings, with many of its cohosts spilling a few bombshells.
This week, it’s not the latest snippy comments between Joy Behar and Meghan McCain getting headlines for "The View," but a new tell-all book filled with juicy stories from nearly everyone involved in the show.
In the just-released "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View" — reporter Ramin Setoodeh’s book about all the behind-the-scenes drama at the ABC morning show — former cohosts and crew members spill some major TMI worthy of its own Hot Topics breakdown.
Anyone who’s a fan of all the backstage blowups should just order it already. But, for now, we’re highlighting some of the most explosive revelations below.
The Initial Casting Process
While "The View" has seen its fair share of revolving cohosts, finding the first crop of women to front the show sounds like a relatively simple affair.
Meredith Vieira expressed hesitation about auditioning, as she, Star Jones and Joy — who impressed Barbara with a comedy set at a charity event — were all asked to try out. Debbie Matenopoulos, who was a senior at NYU at the time, found out about the auditions from a casting director at a party.
Barbara, Meredith, Star and Debbie all auditioned together, a group that clicked immediately. Joy then subbed in for Barbara and it went just as seamlessly. "We tried four completely different fresh people," co-creator Bill Geddie recalled. "It never worked again. It was never engaging for the rest of the day.”
Walters’ only regret about the lineup: not making herself the moderator. "It’s much more fun," she said.
Off the bat, there was tension between Barbara and Joy though, as the latter tested better with audiences. Meanwhile, senior producer Jessica Stedman Guff said the cohosts "hated when Barbara was on" and claimed "she rained on their parade. It was like a bunch of sixth graders throwing shit around the room, and then the teacher walks in."
The First to Go
Matenopolous was the show’s first casualty, as her lack of life experience and behavior began to rub some the wrong way.
Walters was allegedly miffed over a Page Six report saying Debbie had taken off her top at a bar. Meanwhile, Stedman Gruff said one of Debbie’s on-air comments was "so f–king stupid, I want to kill myself" over a hot mic, a comment Debbie heard.
"How are you going to have an opinion if you haven’t lived it?" Debbie said looking back. "I didn’t have the experience like the rest of them had."
Matenopolous admitted she "blew it," and was "really hurt" by the lack of support from Jones after she was axed. According to Debbie, Star "didn’t return my phone calls and e-mails."
"I became disappointed because she stopped working hard," Star explained. "She would stay out late and show up looking bedraggled. She gave rise to Debbie the Dummy. She is not a dumb person. It was difficult to see her not be able to right the ship."
Tea on a Few Famous Guests
According to the book, Mariah Carey never wanted to sing live one the show, with producer Alexandra Cohen saying there was "a lot of lip-synching." That also allegedly led to "a lot of stopping and restarting" and Mimi’s people calling to demand "fixes."
Faye Dunaway also asked for a gym and a bed when she did the show. While they didn’t have those, senior producer Mark Lipinski said they made her a bedroom and exercise room for her visit. "The funniest thing was, her assistant’s name was Christina," he added. "And you could hear her yelling down the hall, ‘Christina! Christina!’ It was just like the movie.”
A Star’s Ego Is Born
Star is the first to admit the show made her "too big for my britches," saying her "ego started to take over" as she gained more notoriety from being on the panel. In one particularly hilarious anecdote, Jones complained to staff about not getting an ocean view room when the show went to Disney Land … which is in landlocked Orlando.
Producers also reportedly "weren’t allowed to make eye contact with or speak to Star" and had to leave notes by her door and "run."
Jones’ cohosts allegedly became aggravated with her after she secretly had gastric bypass surgery and wouldn’t allow anyone to address it on the show. "I think that bothered me the most," said Star. "Each one of us had something that we were not comfortable talking about. Barbara had surgeries that we were not talking about on air."
She also ticked everyone off when her wedding to Al Reynolds took over. Behar admitted "we were not thrilled" with how the format changed thanks to all the nuptial nonsense, which included a lot of sponsored segments. "I certainly didn’t like the idea of the show revolving around one person," added Vieira.
In the book, Star also accused people at the show with leaking rumors about her surgery to the press. "What I did not like was a concerted effort to destroy me professionally — Bill and Barbara, specifically. And Joy helped," she added.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Republican Mouthpiece?
Both Star and Meredith believed that Elisabeth Hasselbeck wasn’t necessarily spouting off her own beliefs while she was on the show. They accused Geddie of overly coaching her.
"She was literally Bill’s mouthpiece," claimed Star. "He’s so Republican. So he would go and feed her information. She would regurgitate it. You know I’m not lying."
"I grew to believe that like Debbie, but in a different way, she was being force-fed her positions," added Vieira. "I’m not sure that I always felt that it rang true. It almost felt like a caricature. It was heat for heat’s sake."
While Elisabeth didn’t conduct any interviews for the book, Geddie denied he was supplying her with talking points. "We just happen to be two Republicans in the room," he said of their meetings. "I felt it was important that she speak up, speak her mind. I gave everybody ideas about a lot of things."
Why Rosie’s Not a Fan of Ellen DeGeneres
This one has nothing to do with "The View," but instead Rosie O’Donnell’s own talk show and an interview with Barbra Streisand. In the book, O’Donnell admitted she had her entire set rearranged so Streisand could be shot from her good side.
"I would do anything for her. She wanted it, and she wanted it covered up so you didn’t know she was vain," Rosie said, with Streisand confirming the story.
O’Donnell also said she was peeved to see her idol get a second guest spot on Ellen’s show, following Sofia Vergara. "I will never talk to Ellen again," Rosie said, "Such disrespect." She also sent the show’s executive producer an e-mail reading, "Go to hell."
Hurricane Rosie Takes Over
Everyone had something to say about Rosie’s first stint on the show, with Barbara calling her "a great talent" but someone with "emotional problems." Then-director Mark Gentile also called her "clinically insane," before revealing he contacted HR over her behavior and eventually avoided going to set at all if she was there.
Behar said the show became "completely different" when O’Donnell joined and she "wasn’t crazy about it." According to Joy, she started being pressured to sing and dance, which left her feel "as though I’m being bullied."
The Split Screen
In the show’s most infamous moment, O’Donnell and Hasselbeck went at it during a nuclear, on-air fight presented in split-screen. "I didn’t enjoy it," said Joy. "I thought people were complicit in making it go on and on. And then the director put up a split screen, which made Rosie very angry."
Rosie, however, accused Joy of "stoking" the fire between her and Elisabeth. "She was very good friends with Meredith. I think it was upsetting to Joy that I came in and got all this attention." She did add that she has "always loved Joy."
Sherri Shepherd also recalled guest Alicia Silverstone "shaking" backstage, adding that the "Clueless" star was "terrified" about going out on stage after the blowup.
O’Donnell already knew her contract wouldn’t be renewed at this point and didn’t return to the show following the fight. She wouldn’t be back until she was hired again as cohost in 2014.
Hurricane Rosie Returns
When Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie cohosted together after the latter’s 2014 return, the two never really gelled.
According to the book, Goldberg — who wasn’t interviewed — wasn’t thrilled Rosie’s recasting was positioned as her "saving the show." O’Donnell also allegedly told the staff it was their jobs to make Whoopi look better, with Rosie herself saying she thought Goldberg was coasting.
"Whoopi Goldberg was as mean as anyone has ever been on television to me, personally – while I was sitting there," O’Donnell added. "Worse than Fox News. The worst experience I’ve ever had on live television was interacting with her."
Others had issues with O’Donnell too, as Nicolle Wallace reported the cohost to HR.
Rosie left just 5 months into her contract, with Rosie Perez and Wallace being let go shortly after. "All I wanted to do is make that show be as good as it could be," said O’Donnell. "Now it’s unwatchable."
Walters herself said the musical chairs of cohosts can be distracting, saying, "It’s too many,. I think you should tune in and know who they are. There are days when I tune in and I don’t recognize anybody."
"Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View" is available now.
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