The ladies of “The View” avoided the hottest topic of all when they convened for Friday’s show: The news that original panelist Joy Behar will call it quits this summer.
The news broke Thursday, reported by Deadline.com and confirmed first by Joy herself and then by ABC, which issued a brief statement.
So why’d they skip the subject on “The View” on Friday? Our theory: One reason may have been that the news broke before ABC or the show could make plans to deal with it. Moreover, Friday’s panel was not a normal one for “The View.” Both Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters were absent, and the show had a male guest-host — actor Kevin Sorbo — along with regulars Behar, Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. It could be that any discussion of Joy leaving was prohibited until the other two panelists — especially Walters, who’s boss of the show — return to the show, presumably on Monday.
Meanwhile, one of the best jobs on TV is about to become available (Behar’s scheduled to leave when the show goes on its customary summer hiatus in August) and you can bet that it’s the talk of the TV industry — at least among talent agents and any of their female clients who may be out of work at the moment. And although it’s premature to speculate on who might emerge as the top candidates to replace Joy, we plan on speculating anyway because we can’t resist doing so.
Who are the likely candidates? That depends on how the producers of “The View” plan to “cast” the role. If they’re in the market for someone kind of like Joy, 70, then the best candidates will be women “of a certain age,” perhaps over 50, who give off the same kind of brash vibe that Joy does. She’s “New York” to the bone — Italian-American from Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean her replacement has to be (although it couldn’t hurt).
1) Of course, if they wanted to go that route, there’s always Susie Essman. She’s also a New York-born comedian in the Behar mold. She’s best-known for starring in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but that HBO show’s production schedule is sporadic. Essman is 57 and probably available.
2) Would they be so bold as to recruit Kathy Griffin? She’s a long shot since she’s based in California, for one thing, and for another, Griffin, 52, seems more or less satisfied with her commitment to Bravo, which cuts her a lot of slack as far as what she’s allowed to talk about and do on her Bravo shows.
3) What about Sharon Osbourne? Except for the fact that she, too, is West Coast-based (though she might not have a problem moving to New York for a dream job like this), Osbourne, 60, is not a bad choice for “The View.” She has loads of experience in TV talk (from her own talk show plus “The Talk” on CBS) and if nothing else, she’s certainly outspoken and unpredictable.
4) Two words: Hoda Kotb. With all the talk recently that Kotb’s “Today” show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford wants to move to California, Hoda may be left in New York without a secure situation at NBC. At age 48, she’d be terrific for “The View.”
“The View” has enjoyed a relatively long period of stability in its on-air lineup since the tumultuous period beginning in June 2006 and ending in September 2007. June 2006 was when Meredith Vieira and Star Jones both left the show. Then came the season of Rosie O’Donnell, who left in May 2007. The era of turmoil ended in September 2007 when Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd joined the program. The lineup has remained the same ever since.
Now, though, with Behar getting set to leave after 16 years, the Deadline.com story suggests that the show is heading for another transitional period with Walters, 83, perhaps cutting back on her own commitment to appearing on the show, and Hasselbeck, 35, also rumored to be thinking about moving on. Stay tuned.