The View is getting another overhaul this year following the on-screen departure of show creator Barbara Walters and the addition of new co-hosts alongside of the returning Whoopi Goldberg. After 18 seasons on the air ABC has decided to move The View from their entertainment division over to the news division. This means that the daytime chat show can now use the resources of the ABC News team when putting together content for their broadcast. On top of the on screen changes there has also been a change in management among the executives of Disney/ABC which helped factor into the programming shift. This change even includes a new production team behind the scenes.
The President of ABC News, James Goldston discussed the decision in a letter to the staff. In the letter he says that the show has always been a mix of the news and opinion. While news is an important factor of The View, often times the ladies around the table drift more towards opinion. Just in the past few weeks Rosie O’Donnell voiced her opinion that former President Bill Clinton should have been prosecuted for his involvement in the Monica Lewinsky affair. Goldberg quickly pointed out to O’Donnell that technically he was, when he went through impeachment proceedings. In another instance Rosie Perez mistakenly discussed the Catholic Church’s views on divorce. She was quick to apologize for her error.
The shift from the entertainment division over to the news division may or may not have a big effect on what people who tune in to watch The View actually see. Instead this shift may improve ratings comparisons since now the show will be up against standard news programming which tends to do worse in the ratings versus entertainment programming. News programs are also known for catering to an older demographic versus entertainment shows. This may help with TV advertisers who look for a viewing audience that is under 49 years of age.
Ratings for The View have dropped over the past several years and just in the last year there was a 10 percent drop in viewers. The shift may be what the show needs to give it a boost. This is not the first time that a talk show has shifted from the entertainment to the news division. In the mid-1990’s Good Morning America made the shift over from being part of the entertainment division of television programming over to the news.
A spokeswoman for ABC news, Julie Townsend seemed to indicate that the shift to a new division may not have anything to do with ratings but instead with simple logistics. The head of entertainment for daytime programming is based out of California while The View is based in New York City. The studio for the show is actually directly across the street from the headquarters for the news division. Since the summer before the new season aired, the new division boss had already started to oversee the team working on The View.
A shift to the news division of programming for The View may be just what the show needs to attract more viewers. With both a shakeup of the cast as well as its programming category, ratings for the program may eventually get a boost. In the meantime, regular viewers will continue to watch Goldberg, O’Donnell, Perez and Nicole Wallace offer their opinions on major happenings around the country and the world.
By Kimberley Spinney