Executives at ABC told Barbara Walters that launching The View was a career move mistake. After a decade on air, the show had changed the face of morning television as the women who debated hot topics at a round table became famous, and infamous, for their views. The show is now in its 22nd season.
Journalist Ramin Setoodeh has written Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View”, on sale April 2 from St. Martin’s Press. Ramin is the New York bureau chief for Variety. For fans of The View, the Setoodeh’s access—he spoke to every cohost except Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck—the book is an unexpected opportunity to understand the inner workings of the ABC daytime talk show’s complicated dynamic. Setodeh conducted more than 150 interviews to write the book.
Setoodeh told CNN, “The two cohosts who never agreed to sit down with me — even though I’d interviewed them both before — were Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck…Read it and you’ll see why.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Star, Rosie, and Whoopi Tried to Take Over The View
Ladies Who Punch details the power struggles of The View leaders.
Star Jones left The View after 9 years when Barbara Walters said she was “betrayed” by Star Jones Reynolds’ surprise on-air announcement of her exit from the daytime talk show Tuesday.
O’Donnell co-hosted from 2006-2007 when she left after a political shouting match with Hasselbeck. She returned in 2014 and resigned a year later. hen she resigned from The View, O’Donnell cited health issues caused by her work environment.
After a one month absence from the show facing a battle with pneumonia, Goldberg remains the moderator seat.
Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Joy Behar, Lisa Ling, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy, Rosie Perez, Nicolle Wallace, Raven-Symoné, Michelle Collins, Candace Cameron Bure, Paula Faris, Sara Haines, Jedediah Bila, Sunny Hostin, Meghan McCain, Abby Huntsman and Ana Navarro have co-hosted The View. In 2018, TV Insider compiled a list of the show’s various co-hosts exit strategies.
2. ABC Execs Ignored a Hostile Work Environment
The new book “alleges a breathtaking level of workplace misconduct, unethical behavior and dysfunction behind the scenes of the top-rated television talk show,” writes , who reviewed an early copy of Ladies Who Punch for Huffington Post.
“A big theme in the book is ABC execs being aware of a hostile work environment at The View and doing nothing,” says Ali, adding that Ladies Who Punch alleges that Walters leaked information to the press about other women on the show that was often embarrassing.
The View offices were based outside ABC headquarters, and Barbara Walters was allegedly threatened by the more popular co-hosts.
3. Barbara Walters Had Trouble Walking Away
Ladies Who Punch details the complicated journey of Walter’s unlikely success story in determining to create the show to her eventual decision to let it go nearly two decades later.
Walters was co-creator and co-executive producer of The View with her business partner, Bill Geddie. She won two Daytime Emmy Awards for the show in 2003 and 2009. She retired in 2014. She has called the show her legacy.
The pair lost control of the show, reports The Daily Beast. Geddie did not want Rosie O’Donnell to return, and “A source at ABC insisted Walters was merely ‘consulted’ and ‘informed’ concerning O’Donnell’s hiring. ‘The decision was made by ABC.'”
4. Setoodeh Writes About Rosie’s Feuds with Whoopi, Wallace, and Others
O’Donnell told Setodeh that she and Elizabeth Hasselbeck were not the enemies viewers thought them to be. “I loved her,” O’Donnell says in the book. The two shocked their colleagues when they teamed up to go Christmas gift shopping for fellow staffers one year.
Still, years later and a week before the publication of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View”, O’Donnell issued Hasselbeck a sarcastic apology for Hasselbeck’s offense to O’Donnell’s “crush” on The View co-host after Hasselbeck visited the view as a guest on March 26.
Hasselbeck said of working with O’Donnell, “Whether you’re a man or whether you’re a woman, and you’re objectifying women in the workplace, it’s wrong … if you replace what Rosie said and you take her name out and you put in Ruben or Robert, then we would be in a situation where you would see the objectification of a woman in the workplace.”
“Things got so bad between Nicolle Wallace and Rosie that Nicolle went to HR. And Nicolle brought her husband one day as a bodyguard of sorts,” reports Huffington Post. Wallace, the former communications chief for President George W. Bush, was fired from The View without warning in 2015, after one season. Wallace learned she was fired from the media. O’Donnell left the same year.
Wallace told Variety that to her knowledge, she got along with O’Donnell. “She was really intense, and that intensity could be really uncomfortable. What transpired between us transpired on air. We had a combustible debate about torture. She had really combustible conversations about race. And listen, maybe this is where I failed in the eyes of the executives who hired me. Maybe this combustion is what they were seeking.”
5. Setodeh got the Full Story of Rosie v. Trump
Then reality t.v. star Donald J. Trump was watching The View the morning O’Donnell took comedic aim at his hair, alleged infidelities, and bankruptcies.
“By the end of the segment, Joy’s head fell to the table in uncontrolled laughter,” writes Setodeh in Vanity Fair. ‘My memory of it was she took over the stage and went crazy on him. She pulled her hair over and made comments about his infidelities and his money, which probably really freaked him out. As you can see from the fact that he never pays his taxes, that’s something he never wants out there. But it was funny. I enjoyed sitting there and watching it. It was a fabulous show.'”
Barbara Walters was out of town on a cruise for that particular episode and had not yet seen the tape as Trump threatened to sue ABC, The View, and Walters herself. He made twenty media appearances and called O’Donnell “fat little Rosie,” “stupid,” “a little clam,” unattractive,” “that animal,” and “degenerate,” writes Setodeh.