Paula Faris, the co-anchor of “GMA Weekend,” is in talks to join “The View,” as ABC executives are preparing for another major shakeup on the morning talk show for its 19th season, Variety has learned.
The network has been testing out news-oriented personalities that could fill the void left by Barbara Walters’ retirement last year, and they are hoping that Faris—who has been at ABC News since 2012—could take on a role similar to the one that Meredith Vieira occupied on the show.
A spokesperson for ABC News declined to comment on staffing changes.
If Faris joins “The View,” she’d potentially continue her “GMA Weekend” duties, while still sitting in on the talk show on the weekdays. She has appeared on the program several times as a fill-in co-host in the last season.
It hasn’t yet been decided if Faris would appear on “The View” every day as a regular co-host or drop in from time to time as a contributor. But her addition to the panel will only add to the speculation, which started months ago, that “The View” could eventually turn into a third hour of “GMA.”
In an effort to build ratings, the next season of “The View” will feature more new faces. According to a knowledgeable source, there will be five permanent co-hosts at the Hot Topics table—among them moderator Whoopi Goldberg (who has a year left on her contract), Raven Symone and comedian Michelle Collins, who was made a co-host on Monday. There will also be a panel of rotating personalities who will fill in sporadically on the show.
The network hopes the new talent will attract more buzz to the daytime talk show, as it has fought to stay relevant under new executive producer Bill Wolff and ABC News, which took over management of the show from the daytime division in October.
It’s been a rocky year at “The View.” Rosie O’Donnell departed the show in February, citing health reasons, and viewership is down 16 percent for the second quarter compared to the same period in 2014. After Variety reported earlier this month that ABC might axe co-host Rosie Perez from the panel, she stopped coming to work for two days (claiming a back injury), before announcing on the show last Wednesday that she was leaving “The View” for acting opportunities. Her final day will be on Aug. 6.
Executives are still undecided about the fate of Republican co-host Nicolle Wallace. As an alternate for the conservative spot, ABC has been testing Candace Cameron-Bure. The former “Full House” star isn’t as shy when it comes going head-to-head with the other panelists about her beliefs, and she recently grabbed headlines after a Hot Topics where she defended an Oregon bakery for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding. Even though she lives in Los Angeles, a source confirms to Variety that Cameron-Bure is in talks to join “The View,” which tapes in New York.
Other names on the rotating co-host short list include Molly Sims, stylist Stacy London and Sherri Shepherd, who fled “The View” last summer over salary disputes, but is now interested in returning. Executives pursued Joy Behar for one of these part-time spots, but a source says the former “View” host—who left Hot Topics when the network wanted to make the “The View” less political in 2013—doesn’t believe the current version of the show is the right fit for her.
The next season of “The View” premieres in mid-September.