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The View made good on its "Flashback Friday" promise this morning when original co-host Debbie Matenopoulos returned to the table to weigh in on Hot Topics. Matenopoulos, who served as a co-host from 1997 to 1999, happily relived her time on the show as she discussed the "wacky" segments she participated in and the pressure of working with the great Barbara Walters. "This was the best experience of my life," she said. "Yes, it was so stressful, and I was so scared, but it really, truly prepared me for anything."
"Debbie, you were 22 when you started here. A mere baby," said Behar, after playing a montage of Matenopoulos' greatest hits. "And you looked like you were having such a good time, as you can see in the clips, but you say it was the most stressful time in your life ... what made you so stressed out?"
"What made me so stressed out?! I was 22, sitting next to Barbara Walters! Anybody would be stressed out," replied Matenopoulos (to which Behar insisted she "wasn't," which, okay Joy). "I was very scared. I came out and pretended I wasn't scared, but all those clips, I was petrified."
"To be on a show like this, you have to have some kind of life experience, and I had no life experience," she continued. "I was going to NYU, I was working at MTV — I mean, I didn't even think I was going to get the job. I simply came because I wanted to have a cocktail story that I met Barbara Walters!"
DEBBIE’S ‘VIEW’ HOMECOMING! ✨ One of #TheView's original co-hosts @iamdebbiem returns to guest co-host for #FlashbackFriday and looks back at her time at the #HotTopics table. https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/lKA8fPmZnH— The View (@TheView) October 22, 2021
When Behar asked if Matenopoulos realized that she "would have to give her opinion on topics of the day," the former co-host said that the 1997 version of the show "wasn't quite as heavy" as it is now. "It took a political turn when President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky — when that whole scandal happened, then she show began to evolve into what it is today, and there's been so many different iterations," explained Matenopoulos.
Still, Matenopoulos remembers her two years on The View as "the best experience," and she credits it with preparing her for both personal and professional success. "If you can sit on a show like this and do live television and hold your own with the most renowned journalist in the world," she said, "With a comedian who's been doing it forever, with Meredith, who is an Emmy-winning — with Star, a prosecuting attorney, you can do anything."
LATE 30s MOST STRESSFUL TIME IN LIFE? After a new survey found that most Americans feel the most stress in their lifetime at age 36, the co-hosts and @iamdebbiem share their take. https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/DRPQisjpeW— The View (@TheView) October 22, 2021
Could Matenopoulos return to The View in a more permanent role? Never say never...
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.