ABC News Takes Over ‘The View’ As Ratings Dwindle (EXCLUSIVE)

The View Moves to News Division

Incoming president Ben Sherwood steers franchise to division's non-fiction arm

For 18 seasons, “The View” has been one of the crown jewels of ABC Daytime programming block. But in a significant restructuring that could foreshadow the management style of incoming president Ben Sherwood, ABC’s daytime executives are losing oversight of the show, Variety has learned.

Starting today, “The View” will be part of the non-fiction branch of programming within ABC News, which produces the documentary series “NY Med.” The talk show will now be in the growing portfolio of ABC News president James Goldston, Sherwood’s right-hand man who helped revamp “Good Morning America.”

“Moving ‘The View’ to our non-fiction programming group now allows it to fully draw on the vast resources of ABC News and our team in New York, where the show is based right next door,” Goldston says in a memo Variety obtained from the network that will circulate to staffers on Thursday morning. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with this terrific team.”

One of his central goals, according to insiders, is to make “The View” more appealing to younger viewers. The show has fallen 10 percent in the last year among female viewers between the ages 18 to 49, but it’s up 1 percent in total viewers.

The long-running gabfest faced a drastic makeover in the fall with three new co-hosts — Rosie O’Donnell, Rosie Perez and Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace — joining moderator Whoopi Goldberg, though it hasn’t improved much in the ratings from last year’s lackluster season with Jenny McCarthy.

“The View’s” new panel has struggled to find its voice this season. The Hot Topics segments have focused more on hard news, like Ebola and ISIS, as opposed to celebrities and reality stars, the sweet spot for the knockoff CBS series “The Talk.”

The four co-hosts are all older than 40, which goes against the idea of Barbara Walters’ original pitch for “The View”: to make the debates multi-generational. Perez could be taking a hiatus from the show in the winter, since she’s signed to appear in a Broadway play, which may give executives an opening to test other co-hosts. Insiders say it’s too early to tell if a new cast member will join the show later this season, but the very possibility of a change is indicative of concerns with the panel’s chemistry.

The shift in the show’s management isn’t just an unexpected shakeup for “View” staffers. It speaks to the interim period between Anne Sweeney who will exit her perch atop of Disney/ABC Television Group early next year, and Sherwood, who steps in as the new president. Sources say that Sherwood had wanted more involvement with “The View’s” reboot and had long told colleagues that he thought ABC News and Daytime could be one entity.

Within ABC there’s been conflict about which side has been calling the shots on “The View” this season, with some sources insisting that the execs from the news side have driven decisions such as the hiring of former “Rachel Maddow Show” producer Bill Wolff as the new exec producer. However, those on the news side say they weren’t officially in charge of the show until now.

During the summer casting session, following Walters’ retirement, Sweeney—along with daytime executives Lisa Hackner and Abra Potkin—were overseeing “The View.” It was Sweeney’s idea to bring O’Donnell back after she left the talk show in 2007.

Sweeney is still involved with the show. Hackner, who clashed with O’Donnell and Goldberg, was phased out of her “View” duties in the middle of the summer, and Potkin will no longer work on “The View.” Marla Provencio, a chief marketing officer in Los Angeles, was also moved off the show.

The shakeup poses many questions about what sources describe as dysfunction inside ABC Daytime, which was folded into ABC’s entertainment division in 2011, and has a sparse plate that includes an upcoming Tyra Banks talk show, “The Chew” and “General Hospital.” One of the chief recent disappointments was “Katie,” the much-hyped Katie Couric 2012 talk show that hemorrhaged millions and was axed after two seasons.

A former senior-level ABC staffer who agreed to discuss the daytime department on the condition of anonymity recalls how Potkin, the executive who oversaw “Katie,” once lay flat on her back during a meeting with producers, telling them in panic: “If we can’t get the ratings up, we’re all going to be out of our jobs!” Potkin later jumped to overseeing “The View,” and has now been moved to a new duty–as a senior programming executive at the non-fiction division of ABC News. (Potkin didn’t respond to inquiries for comment.)

Over the summer, the casting for the new co-hosts, which was managed by the daytime team, was fraught with tension. Sources say they were too many cooks in the kitchen and the process was chaotic. After potential co-hosts were paraded into ABC for mock debates in August, executives couldn’t make up their minds about who they wanted to hire.

At one point late in the process, they even started to pursue Carrie Underwood, Variety has learned, even though the country star would be expensive, lives in Nashville and doesn’t publicly speak about her political beliefs. ABC finally offered a seat to Wallace on Sept. 3, just 12 days before the 18th season premiere. Perez was also a last-minute choice—the actress hadn’t been vetted with the other candidates.

Now “The View” finds itself alongside a growing stable of programs inside the non-fiction unit, which began several years ago, that includes “Surgeon Oz” (on OWN), “Mustang Millionaire” (National Geographic Channel) and “Ebola: Inside the Deadly Outbreak” (Discovery). Many of these programs are produced at ABC under Lincoln Square Productions, and sold to other networks.

On the surface, it might sound like asking ABC News executives to run “The View” will make the show even more serious, but the opposite could be true. Sherwood’s ABC News division is responsible for taking a more pop culture-centered “Good Morning America” to No. 1 against “Today.” Since it’s technically not an ABC News show, the staff will still be able to operate by more journalistically relaxed rules.

When Taylor Swift appeared as a guest in October 2012, “The View” agreed to guidelines that barred the co-hosts from asking about her recent breakup with Conor Kennedy. ABC News employees aren’t generally allowed to make such agreements, but “The View” will exist in its own ethical orbit.

For day-to-day decisions, Goldston is entrusting “The View” to Tom Cibrowski,  senior VP of programs, news gathering and special events at ABC News; Barbara Fedida, senior VP for talent and business; and David Sloan, a senior executive producer at “20/20.” The execs, who will continue to perform their regular daily duties, will be working with the show’s executive producer Wolff.

If Sherwood’s team is able to successfully rescue “The View,” it will be another feather in his cap. One thing is for certain: he’s not waiting until his job begins to make his mark.

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  1. Andrea Hamilto says:

    Yep once again I appreciate Whoppi’s comments on North Korea….I am sure her many visits to this country make her an expert on the topic. What is the matter with ABC….this show is ridiculous!

    • cdhaskell says:

      It will be interested what will happen when Whoopi Goldberg finally indeed leave the show and return to become an actress/producer again. I guess that Joy Baher will become the lead hostess.

  2. Erica says:

    It’s only my opinion but seems like the show should be scrapped. None of them are like Oprah Winfrey. Not interesting enough or welcoming enough.
    Btw they can’t even handle Carly Fiorina. Is that why she’s the only one left off tonight’s ABC hosted republican debate?
    We always want to censor people we can’t handle. Don’t we? Put a muzzle on them…..
    I can sit in my livingroom and have a more interesting dialog with friends than what I have seen on the ‘View’.
    Some of the hosts should stick to acting if that’s what they’re good at.

  3. Marchon says:

    Please bring back Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez to The View. They were so much more interesting than the other cohosts. What happened?

  4. viewthis! says:

    Further,
    If one wanted to end polygamy for good- just send in the whoopi; trust me, it would cease to exist overnight…

  5. viewthis! says:

    Note to half of country- (men)
    If you ever walk in to see Behar’s, Goldberg’ or any twit on the views face on the TV when your woman is watching; immediately leave this woman. Allow HER to leave immediately to be a new ‘host’ on show to scream, yell, bloviate, ridicule, demean, victimize anything they oppose (great lessons for young minds..) and be that dreadlocked freaks new victim substitute. If she ever mentions she watches this show, drive it to the angry victim racist’s loudmouthed, uncouth, paid for with hate mansion to be a live in she bitch hate slave for the poor downtrodden ‘victim’ herself.. If she ever mentions that freaks name- leave it on bar stool where you found it. If on boat with it, jump off (sharks are better option) with directions to aforesaid house of self hate and privelege and allow her to steer herself; albeit nothing we want anyway, let her go fellas (didn’t mean view hosts lol)- rejects for desperately lonely and uneducated morons of the lonely hearts can’t find a man to support me club..if Johnson was alive, he’d invite it to Texas for a game of ‘survival’… Those women are useful for for regressed thoughts of self loathing and producers means of avoiding questionable acts to feed their families.. 3.8 out of 10 arrright!

  6. Deborah Hillary says:

    It isn’t just Nicole who has amped-up (loudness) speech. If you look at shows pre-Walters retirement, Whoopi’s voice was ‘normal’; now she is yelling. It is like Barbara left, and Whoopi has been unleashed, and not in a good way. As for the Republican perspective, I don’t know why (maybe they did) go for Meghan McCain; though I’m not a Republican, Ms. McCain was engaging, intelligent, humorous and self-deprecating. Nicole is a political animal per her background; she wasted no time allying herself with (now) BFF Whoopi, just to create a divide-and-conquer and push Rosie O out. Personally, this show beneath Rosie O’Donnell. It was degrading to see W, N and Rosie P get combative towards Rosie O’s existence (she was the best moderator, proven when W out on leave). We don’t watch it anymore, though we thoroughly enjoyed the big article about the decline of The View in the Sunday, March 15 NYT. The funniest moment when the new costars debuted (W, N, both Rosies) was when Nicole Wallace had to dress up in a costume for the October 2014 Halloween show and she looked both angry and on the verge of tears; she knew she looked like a total fool, she did, but boy did we laugh all the way through Thanksgiving. Rosie Perez the best one (but she needs to watch her speech sometimes when she disagrees with people – last saw her last month; we don’t watch the show – it is boring and boorish.

  7. Susan Roe says:

    Nicole is shrill and annoying. The woman screeches over everyone and does she really have to remind us EVERY day that she is a Republican? Too bad someone intelligent and articulate didn’t get the job. Bring back Rosie O and Joy!

  8. kaeight says:

    Whoopi was great in movies, BUT she is not great as moderator on the View -does anyone feel this besides me (Hello ABC executives) ! When Whoopi was out with back problems, and Rosie O took over, the show seemed to flow better – it was very entertaining – now Rosie O is gone & the show is just a mess – what are you all thinking over there @ ABC! I still think that Rosie Perez has the most intelligent voice on the panel ! Please do not add Stacy London to the group – she makes me anxious! You need 4/5 women of all ages and colors that are intelligent, provocative & entertaining – that is not happening right now! I want to keep watching, but it is becoming very difficult – I keep on changing the channel – PLEASE HELP ABC EXECUTIVES! I will be happy to give you advice………..

  9. Nancy dubovick says:

    I’ve come to take the show or leave it! Always enjoy Whoopie! Glad Rosie O is gone. She only has one opinion, hers! Rosie Perez is a smart woman but have a hard time with her speech. You’d think she would have taken speech therapy long ago. Like Nicole and glad they have a conservative voice on the show. So far I think Cristella gives the show a real sense of humor which we certainly need today. Stacey has her own show, stick with that.

  10. jo says:

    I record the show every day and noticed that I delete it within the first few minutes. Perez reminds me of a cartoon figure. Nicole talks so fast and too much political talk, I turn off. Whoopi always sounds angry. That’s when I delete. Cancel the show. I have been watching the Talk

  11. SUS says:

    I also DVR The View and fast forward through it except I’m home last week and this and I have finally started enjoying the show, especially this week. Rosie O’Donnell is back to her old and great self, she is a great moderator. Cantone best cohost ever! And Nicole has proven to be a smart move by ABC.

  12. Frequent viewer says:

    I have watched The View for many years. This is the worst season. The show has steadily declined in the last few years. I usually fast forward to a segment I am interested in watching, if any. Thank goodness for DVR.

  13. JC says:

    The View has become dissappointing. It has lost the deep knowledgable discussion they once had. It is now a cutsie girly coffee cluch round table. No depth to it. So sad…always planned my work break so to watch the opening issues. Now not interesting.

  14. Susie Welch says:

    I will not watch the View no more!!! I am so tired of watching a racsit show!!! The View has become so racsit. I use to love wstching it but since Barbara has left everyone racsit!!!!! There view on problem with police offiers is horriable!!!!!! People do not need to keep encouragment to keep this going!!!! We need police for protection!!! It should not be about color!!! Its about lives of America!!! Enough enough of all of this crap!!! I used think highly of Whoopi but no more!!!! Never cared about Rosie O and the other 2 are no better!!!! I will watch channel 6 Today!!!! Very disapointed!! With the View!!!!

  15. ABC don’t have anything to replace the Views with. I got a feeling that the show will be renewal for the 2015-2016 lineup.

  16. Rosie O Donald is crude and common. Rosie Perez has a voice and accent that is hard to take. Both of them consider themselves to be experts on virtually everything and the are not! They are basically ignorant, loud and low class women. Goldberg has always annoyed me.shes so obnoxious and full of herself. The show stinks! Really stinks!

  17. SUS says:

    I’ve read comments after my posting. I think this round table could work. I was thinking when they were announcing the new table this past fall that Megan McCain would join (I’m not a Republican). Stop with the sounds of peoples voices and laughs; that is intolerance 101 (for god’s sake, grow up). I think Rosie O’Donnell is great and can (doesn’t) put a funny spin on things, but she seems to be very, very guarded, like she is walking on glass that could shatter at any second. Who doesn’t love Rosie P? She needs just to be a bit more careful when another host asks her a question and she is quick with this “Don’t put that on me!”. It is called agreeing to disagree, that is the whole point of the show, right? differing opinions?! I think Rosie O’Donnell would be the better ‘anchor’; Ms. Goldberg is stoned alot of the time, and because she is the ‘veteran’, she inhibits (intentionally and unintentionally) the other three, which will cause this ship to sink by the end of the season. Yep, I agree with the other commentators that you need that Joy Behar factor. But Rosie O’Donnell is that, except she is incredibly tentative due to the show’s management and their restraint. (Nicole is getting better every day, just stop yelling.)

  18. David says:

    Put Barbara Walters back in charge and put her on air. Those were the only 2 ingredients to the show to begin with. Whoopi is too domineering and the hot topics are too rehearsed. Bring back Joy Behar or get Ali Wentworth if you want younger. Rosie is so much better being light fun story-telling Rosie rather than political Rosie. Mario’s appearances are about the only fun part of the show these days. He and Rosie have chemistry that should be highlighted. I cannot for the life of me understand why the show that spawned a million imitators is so hell bent on totally changing itself these past few years???

  19. Penny says:

    The show has lost all form of integrity.

  20. I believe the real reason why the show became to fail because the show starting to move away from the original format about 5 differ views from woman of all differ ages. I hope that in 2015 will become a bigger year for the show.

  21. Susan says:

    Love this show… But have to agree- Rosie P. Has the most irritating laugh! I like Nicole but sometimes she and Rosie P try too hard and their laughter is too loud, and too fake. Please get Rosie P to get it under control! I can’t handle much more of it…. And that makes me sad because I have watched this show every day from day 1!

  22. Char says:

    Rosie Perez was a bad move. She can barely talk and brings no depth. I love Nicole. Jeanine the Attorney from Fox and someone like Tia one of the twins would have been good too. Tamara her twin is on THE REAL and is wonderful. Take a few from that panel. Someone with style and zest and I am 48.

    • JC says:

      Rosie Perez is hard to understand and does not bring much depth to the show. I do like Nicole…she has a knowledgeable view. But she has no one to discuss in depth with. Everyone else has “feelings” but do not have good debate skills or deep knowledge of subjects. It feels like everyone is avoiding the elephant in the room.

  23. I must agree with Paladin that the show is death rattling. I will be surprised that the show get renewal for the 2015-2016 period. Good luck to the Views because it will need it.

  24. Paladin says:

    This show is ‘death rattling.’

  25. The Real on Fox is finally give the Views a run for their money. It will be interested to see how the Views will bring new life to the show.

  26. Michelle says:

    The View has fallen apart. Rosie O’Donnel is an angry horrible addition to the show and Whoppie is hanging on to have a job. There is no topic leadership and this leaves Rosie talking over and rudely interrupting the other co-hosts. Horrible! Off my list and will not continue to watch after being a loyal fan all these years.

  27. Gloria says:

    Get rid of the two Rosies and the the other lady. What a waste of TV time!

  28. carrie says:

    The show is just dreadful I much prefer Wendy Williams and The Talk they seem like they actually like each other. The View is just one View annoying. Get a whole new cast

  29. Frani Barr says:

    Letting Jenny and Sherry go was the biggest mistake. Whoopi, Jenny, and Sherry had a special rapport which is lacking now. Whoopi is still great, but the others just don’t do it for THE VIEW!

  30. The views have better watch out because I read somewhere that the Real is now claiming to be no.1 in their timeslot.

  31. Rob says:

    No I no longer watch.

  32. Yosie Edgell says:

    The new “The View” is absolutely horrible !!! Can’t stand to listen to anyone talking except Whoopie. Never heard of Nichole & is voice is irritating, Rosie P’s laugh is annoying, and I’m sick of hearing Rosie O defending homosexuality. The new set is ugly. Wish there was something else to broadcast in that time slot.

  33. ABC don’t have anything to replace the Views in the 11 am-noon timeslot yet. ABC believe that the rating will get better by the 2015.

  34. NL Clemmensen says:

    I LOVE what Nicolle adds– she’s so bright, knows how to hold her own in a debate (not that they’ve really had one yet), she can be funny…. but she also understands and enjoys the fun stuff. RosieO’s pretty much not the Rosie-we-all-loved anymore. RosieP…… has had a few good moments, is finally relaxing some, but there are *so* many others that would be a way-better fit than she is. Whoopi, I love you and am glad I am not having to feel the constant need to apologize for being white anymore.

    My vote is that you get Ali Wentworth over there as fast as possible. FUNNY woman, lightning fast on the uptake, a mom, and a wife to that Dem George Stephanopoulos. What could be better than that?

    • S Solomon says:

      I agree with NL Clemmensen 100% I have watched from day one and the show is in big trouble sad to say. Get Ali Wentworth. I knew Rosie wouldnt work they never should have brought her back, seeing as how she walked out . Nicolle is getting better each day. Rosie P. not a great fit at all.

  35. Cathy says:

    Haven’t watched much lately because it annoys me when they all talk at once!

  36. wendy says:

    who are these women now on the view. bad mix..the only one I like is whoopee..will not watch it anymore

  37. MeChell says:

    In my opinion, I do not like the “new” view. The chemistry is wayyyyyyyyyy off with these four. I was so glad to see that Rosie Perez’ diction was much better, but the four of them have no chemistry. It seems like it is a struggle for them to be on stage. I don’t know who ABC should get but this combination really needs re-vamping.

  38. GL123 says:

    Rosie isn’t a team player and never was and never will be. She had her own show and it worked, but she left and changed her public persona. Im not talking about being gay, Ellen is and very successful. Rosie just wanted to fight and if you didn’t agree you were wrong. I use to be a big fan. Women like someone they can relate to. Someone below stated there is no humor. Whoopie isn’t relatable and she does dress like a bag lady. Nicole is a bore and Im conservative. Rose P . is ok, Rosie O, argumentative
    I thought Daisy Fuentes would have been great, Someone like a Tamron Hall, a comedian of some kind. You need a funny person, a news type person (who can be fun) and a few moms that people can relate to. Very few people on this panel you can relate to

  39. The Views is no longer about the views of five differ women at differ ages and views.

  40. Lori Woods says:

    I think The View will be a thing of the past in the near future. Don’t think there’s anything or anyone who can save this show! It’s bad…and the screeching voices of Nicole Wallace and Rosie Perez make it even worse. When Barbara Walters left, the show was over!

  41. Annie o says:

    The women on this show all have to categorize themselves -“lesbian”, “black”,”Latino” and “conservative”… It’s very obvious what they are –we don’t need to be reminded every day…
    It’s just a lack of chemistry between them that makes the show “so unwatchable”.. I occasionally d tune in to it because it’s like watching a train wreck…. I just wait to see Rosieo become the angry woman that she really is… Her hate for Fox news and all things conservative just makes me want to watch her— like when I see Alec Baldwin lose his mind when he explodes on camera or twitter too.. Conservatives actually like watching them expose their hate because it only shines the light on them .. It’s just a matter of time when she will explode like him …

  42. Frances says:

    Rosie O, Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace have very annoying voices…. I have tried to watch…. and listen….but can’t take their nozzle-toned voices. And when they have a hot topic… it gets worse! Please blow your nose and lower your voice.

  43. Ruth Cummings says:

    Appearance means a lot to me, and that show does not appeal to me because of the people appearing in that show, starting with whoopi, she dresses like a bag lady, and the shoes she wears are like the ones I use to do my gardening, and the whole panel just doesn’t have the chemistry that most shows have. they remind me of bulldykes except for tinker belle and the other one.

  44. Maribelle MacAlpin says:

    I really like Nicole Wallace (and I’m a democrat!!! ) I have watched “The View” since I retired in 1997! If you try to make it too much for younger people, You may lose a lot of watchers. It has to be a show that appeals to all ages. It’s very good to see serious things discussed also. Don’t ruin “my View”

  45. Good Luck Nancy Hardy because I don’t think that Nicole Wallace will apologize for the way that she told what happened on an airplane. I got a feeling the ladies on the Views will make more bad statement.

  46. Nancy Hardy says:

    Today Nicole was sharing an experience she & her family had while on an airplane. Nicole you stated that a Cow was sighing behind your crying child. I find it offensive that your referred this person as a Cow. I guess its ok for a Republican like you to call names. I wonder if Rosie Odonald called someone a cow she would be accused of bullying. Im placing you in the preveldged Republican. You need to apologize.

  47. kaeight says:

    I have read all of the comments here and have found that at least 95% are negative, mean & hurtful – why is that ??? Yes, you are free to express your feelings about the show & its contents, the connection amongst the panel… but is it really necessary to voice such mean comments about weight, looks, accents and other personal hurtful suggestions —is that really necessary??? Can any of you vocal unseen people address that…it only confirms my belief that people on the conservative right are “mean & hateful”…if you don’t believe me, read all the comments here, and explain why there are an overwhelming amount of personal mean & hateful comments! If you don’t like the “View”, then don’t watch it… but apparently you are—so keep watching (you must be , to have so many opinions about the show—keep those ratings up!)

    Having said all that, I do not necessarily like the flow of the show, in its current format, Some thoughts: I would like to hear more provocative discussion about major news topics…I feel like everyone is holding their tongue in an effort to be agreeable… that is not working for me.

    I think the freshest voice on the panel is Rosie Perez – She come across as a very intelligent, well versed & opinionated woman & expresses herself accordingly!

    Rosie O, aside from what all commenters might believe, has a great, great, great following & that is probably one of the reasons, why ABC, brought her back to daytime TV. They know what they are doing…

    Nicole is weak, but likeable & Whoopi is Whoopi and also, has her own following!

    But back to the original question -Why such meanness & personal attacks in these comments???

  48. I thought the idea of the show was women from differ ages and views that make the show which why the show have five differ women.

  49. Steven says:

    Three of the hosts are over 50! Not quite a younger demo. The panel still lacks chemistry. Theres no younger perspective time. The Republican view is still almost invisible (see Sen Warren appearance & Wallace’ timidness) and theres no humor. Joy Behar & Sherri Shepherd are missed. I still don’t understand bringing back Rosie, someone who mo staffer can get along with & who has a huge ego. What does she bring. She’s not smart or funny these days and is extremely polarizing. The show isn’t must see TV anymore. At least they brought back the table and chairs. There are so many talented, smart women available so the choices ABC made are very puzzling

  50. Lisa Franchette Minnis says:

    I do not like the new cast members on the View. ,They should have let Nee Nee Leaks on the show. The View needs help!

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