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With just one week to go before The View returns to ABC, the format of the show’s landmark 25th season is finally starting to take shape. While the iconic daytime show will not be replacing Meghan McCain quite yet — no surprise there — it will be welcoming a rotating lineup of conservative women as guest hosts, including Gretchen Carlson, Condoleeza Rice, and S.E. Cupp. But even as The View looks to the future, it honors its past: every week, former co-hosts will return to the Hot Topics table for “Flashback Fridays,” a new series that serves as a celebration of the show’s silver anniversary. These are just a few highlights as The View begins Season 25 — here’s what to expect when the show returns after Labor Day:
When the pandemic first hit New York City in March 2020, The View quickly transitioned to remote broadcasts, but unlike many of its daytime contemporaries, the ABC staple remained remote during the 2020-2021 season. A small crew filmed in the studio over the past year, most notably co-host Sara Haines, who oversees the show’s “View Your Deal” segment, but otherwise, Season 24 contained the same Zoom fails and home audio blunders that have come to typify pandemic-era live TV.
This season, however, all four women (and frequent guest co-host Ana Navaro) will return to The View’s New York City studio, where they will appear in front of a live studio audience. In a video released Monday, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Sara Haines hugged excitedly as they reunited for their annual photo shoot. The same can’t be said for Whoopi Goldberg, who spent the past 18 months telling viewers how happy she was to be stuck in her house.
When it comes to The View Season 25, this is the golden question: who will be replacing Meghan McCain? For the time being, the answer is no one. According to ABC, producers are “taking a little time” (a classic View-ism) to fill McCain’s seat, and as a result, a rotating group of conservative voices will fill in as guest co-hosts throughout the season. Former Utah congresswoman Mia Love will join the table during the show’s premiere week, followed (in no particular order) by Condoleeza Rice, S.E. Cupp, Carly Fiorina, Eboni K. Williams, Mary Katharine Ham, Alyssa Farah, Cameran Eubanks, and Gretchen Carlson.
Fans will notice that this group of conservative women varies in age, background, and experience level, suggesting that the race for McCain’s seat remains wide open. While ABC will likely never admit as much, it’s fair to say that each host’s time on air serves as something of a try-out, with the stronger candidates returning for subsequent appearances over the course of the season. Expect to see whoever generates McCain-level headlines, while also maintaining a modicum of civility with the other co-hosts, return multiple times.
The focal point of The View’s Season 25 celebration is “Flashback Fridays,” a weekly event that will see former co-hosts return to the Hot Topics table. First up is Star Jones, who will be opening up about her nine-season run as one of the show’s original hosts on Friday, September 10.
Additional ex-co-hosts have not yet been announced, but if Star Jones — who left The View on not-so-great terms in 2006 — is your opening act, other heavy-hitters are likely to follow. Fingers crossed ABC’s bookers can get Rosie O’Donnell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and the 19 other women in this revolving door of personalities back for another go-round over the next few months.
It was only a matter of time before The View broke into the podcast world. On Tuesday, September 14, ABC will launch Behind the Table, a new podcast that lifts the curtain on the Emmy-winning daytime show. The Behind the Table description teases “candid and revealing conversations, never-before-heard stories, firsthand details behind headline-making controversies, and moments that firmly cemented the talk show in pop-culture history from the incredible women who have had a seat at the table” since 1997. Like Flashback Fridays, the podcast series will unite current and former co-hosts, including Sherri Shepherd — who discusses her infamous “world is flat comments” in the trailer — Nicolle Wallace, Lisa Ling, Raven-Symoné, and Candace Cameron Bure.
With the Biden administration churning out considerably less news than his predecessor and the show’s biggest firebrand gone, Behind the Table has the potential to generate new buzz and fresh takes on the show’s biggest moments. If the frenzy surrounding Ramin Setoodeh’s Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View is any indication, fans are hungry for behind the scenes drama, even if said drama is from 1997.
It seems unlikely that Barbara Walters, who last appeared on the show in 2014, will make an appearance on The View to celebrate its landmark season. However, executive producer Brian Teta was clear that Season 25 is about honoring her legacy. “25 years is such an incredible milestone,” he said in a statement. “We have so much planned to honor this amazing platform that Barbara Walters created.” Monday’s teaser also concludes with a cupcake toast to Walters.
Neither Teta nor ABC offered any hints about when, or how, a formal tribute to Walters may come, but for now, there’s one big thing The View can do to honor Barbara Walters: continue its historic streak as the most-watched daytime talk show on television.
The View kicks off its 25th season Tuesday, September 7 at 11:00 AM ET on ABC.
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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.