‘View’ crew eyes changes

Search will take 3 months, candidates to appear twice

NEW YORK — Barbara Walters won’t be doing her usual celebrity interview when she sits down with Rachel Campos on Sept. 2 — she’ll be dealing with the model-actress as a colleague.

Campos is the first in a series of celebs and media personalities trying out to be one of Walters’ co-hosts on ABC’s “The View.” Search will take three months, with each candidate appearing twice on the femme-centric late-morning talkshow.

The very public search is emblematic of the aggressive marketing approach ABC daytime prexy Brian Frons has taken since arriving at the job a year ago .

Frons, who left the U.S. sudser biz in the early 1990s to work in European television, said it’s not an easy task marketing ABC’s lineup of long-running soaps. “I am trying to get attention for shows that are 35 to 40 years old in fresh, invigorating and exciting ways,” he said.

Frons has come up with marketing initiatives highlighting audience participation, such as a search on “All My Children” for the sexiest man alive, which allowed viewers to pick a new cast member. There also was Fan February, which let viewers dictate storylines for “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital.”

ABC daytime also can do cross-promotion with cable sister SoapNet, which repurposes broadcast soaps. On Sept. 1, the Alphabet will air a special half-hour “SoapNet Salutes ABC Daytime” at 12:30 p.m.

Program, produced by SoapNet, will re-air at 6:30 p.m. and again at 11 p.m. ET on the cable channel. Hosted by SoapNet’s Lisa Rinna and Ty Treadway, it will recap the past year and sneak-preview upcoming storylines on the Alphabet’s three soaps.

ABC sudsers are performing strongly, ranking No. 1 season to date in women 18-49. “General Hospital,” which just turned 40, is the top-rated show of the season.

Earlier this summer, Frons ordered the one ABC soap not performing so well, “Port Charles,” shipped out.