Help Wanted: A conservative co-host for “The View” who comes with a seal of approval from liberals — and a guarantee she won’t upstage the other women on the show.
That seemingly impossible job description, say sources connected to ABC’s top-rated daytime show, is why “The View” can’t find or hold onto a permanent conservative female co-host to join liberal-to-moderate mainstays Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines six months after the tense departure of Meghan McCain.
Instead, the panel show launched by Barbara Walters — now 92 and long retired — in 1997 has turned into a revolving door of returning or recurring co-hosts. At least one promising potential hire went south over New York City vaccine mandates.
“It’s driving Whoopi crazy,” a former ABC News executive told The Post. “Having people come in and out with no one permanent interrupts the flow.”
But some wonder why a conservative outcast would even want to join.
“Don’t underestimate how mean some of the people at the table can be,” the former ABC executive said. “There are those who won’t want to sign on because of that.”
Current executive producer Brian Teta, previously a longtime producer for “The Late Show with David Letterman,” is too much of a people-pleaser, the former ABC executive said. “The panel runs right over him. He won’t want to choose someone that will makes the others mad. So I really wonder who’s making the casting decisions over there now.”
Teta declined to comment. A spokeswoman for “The View” emailed a statement that said: “The [show’s] co-hosts have great chemistry, and we look forward to finding the right fit to join these smart, funny and fearless women. Executive Producer Brian Teta’s strong plan to select a new co-host is on track.”
“‘The View’ hasn’t had a conservative host in a long time,” conservative author Candace Owens told The Post. “It was kind of a joke to hire Meghan McCain in the Trump era. She was not reflecting the views of conservatives in the country and she was lambasting us. They have a fear of having a true conservative on the network. These ladies aren’t exactly the most intellectual ladies. I don’t think they work in truth.”
McCain’s last episode aired on Aug. 6 after she appeared on the show for four seasons. The 37-year-old has said she wanted to move her family to Washington, DC, but there were tensions through her tenure, including on-air fights with Behar. McCain wrote in her Audible book, “Bad Republican,” released Oct. 21, that she had a good relationship with Goldberg after she started on the show in 2017. Goldberg, McCain said, had promised her father John McCain, that she “would look after me.”
But after about two years, McCain said, Whoopi turned on her — which she said was the kiss of death at “the table.”
“As the country got worse under Trump, the treatment from Whoopi, Joy and some of the staff grew meaner and less forgiving,” McCain said in her book. “It was as if I had become an avatar for everything they hated about the president. “
McCain, who is considered a moderate conservative and has distanced herself from the Republican Party, made her disdain of President Trump obvious on the show.
A source at ABC close to “The View” denied executives are struggling to find a new, conservative co-host and said the plan always was to try out a mix of past guest co-hosts and new people as the the new year kicked off.
Condoleezza Rice, Carly Fiorina, Eboni K. Williams, Cameran Eubanks, Gretchen Carlson, Tara Setmayer and former Trump spokeswoman Alyssa Farah are among those who have filled in since McCain’s departure and may still be in the running for a permanent gig. Former New York Times writer and current Substack star Bari Weiss, along with CNN’s S.E. Cupp and Fox News’ Kat Timpf are among the other “conservative” names reportedly being looked at by “View” producers.
The Miami-based Fox News star Lisa Marie Boothe was reportedly being wooed by ABC executives to replace McCain earlier this year but the deal is said to have fallen apart because Boothe is against vaccine mandates — which are in place in New York City, home to “The View” studio.
Ann Coulter’s name has been floated online as a possible permanent contender, most notably by political pundit Mickey Kaus.
“Yes, of course I would [take the job] but they will never pick me,” Coulter told The Post. “[It seems] they don’t mean what they say. You might be exposing a double-secret requirement: Must be a dumb, easy-to-push-around Republican.”
A source with close ties to “The View” said Coulter’s assessment of her chances is spot-on.
“They will never take Ann Coulter,” the source told The Post. “They’re really looking for someone who can have polite arguments to raise the ratings without getting too aggressive. They’re also not looking for someone who could possibly win an argument.”
Owens said she’s heard her name come up a few times as a possible contender but, like Coulter, she doubts the show would truly consider her — even though she, too, would take the gig. Owens told The Post that the show declined to have her on when she was pitching her book earlier this year.
“In its 25-year history, ‘The View’ has had only two successful conservative co-hosts — Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Meghan McCain,” Ramin Setoodeh, author of the bestselling book “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View,” told The Post.
“It’s an incredibly hard seat to fill because you need a Republican who isn’t so extreme that it consumes every conversation. She also has to play to daytime audiences. Most of the candidates they’ve tried out this season have been too wonky,” Setoodeh added. “‘The View” isn’t ‘Hardball.’”
The show insider agreed and went further, alleging that “The View” and ABC executives are biased in favor of liberals and, at the same time, hypocritical.
“The fundamental problem here is there are all of these conditions about what kind of conservative [they want] to come on to the show,” the insider said. “There’s no conditions for what some kind of liberal could be on the show. From the get-go, it’s not a hand that’s fair. While ‘The View’ is scrambling to figure out whether someone they want to have on is too conservative or not, they do not pay their talent any maternity leave.
“For all of their ‘liberal family value’ bulls–t, none of it holds sway when it comes to putting their money with their mouth is. It’s one of these open secrets that people are constantly outraged about.”
A different “View” insider told The Post that all full-time employees of the company receive paid parental leave although some people who work at the network may have individual contracts with different specifics. This season, according to a network source, “The View” ranks No. 1 in Households and total viewers among the daytime network talk shows and news programs.
Debbie Matenopoulos, now 47, was chosen by Walters herself for the original cast of “The View” and co-hosted on the show for two years. She came back in October as part of its “Flashback Friday” series and said at the time that Ana Navarro, a regular recurring guest, was “mean and nasty” to her.
Matenopoulos told The Post she got intel that made her think “The View” producers brought her back in part as a ploy for other hosts’ contract negotiations.
“I think Sara Haines’ contract was up and they were messing with her,” Matenopoulos told The Post. “I think I was a pawn, a ploy in their game. Then they thought I was going to take Ana Navarro’s job.”
When she left, McCain wrote in Variety: “The atmosphere of ‘The View’ breeds drama: producers can’t control hosts, manage conflict or control leaking. My take on the show is that working at ‘The View’ brings out the worst in people. I believe that all the women and the staff are working under conditions where the culture is so f–ked up, it feels like quicksand.”
In fact, said Matenopoulos, “The View” is no longer her kind of place and she’s not even sure she’d want to come back full-time.
“The show has changed so dramatically,” she said. “Our show was so light and fun, a bunch of women sitting at a table and saying where they were coming from. It’s now a hard-core political show — which I don’t think was ever Barbara’s intention. Whatever Republican person they get, I hope she maybe talks more like the woman at home with three kids and less like she writes for Politico. They need someone with a big heart who will help heal the country, not continue to divide it.”
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