How Does ‘The View’ Manage to Create So Much Drama?

There’s one thing for sure when you tune in to The View — there will be drama. The daytime talk show has been relatively calm in the last few months; even the heated discussions between Meghan McCain and Joy Behar are tempered with the knowledge the two women really have respect for each other and are friends off-camera. The recent tell-all by former host Jenny McCarthy has everybody talking about The View again–specifically, how do they create so much drama, and is any of it real?

‘The View’ is a Barbara Walters brainchild

The View was the brainchild of the grande dame of women in journalism, Barbara Walters. Walters started the show in 1997 as a current-events program hosted by a multi-generational panel of women. Since then 22 co-hosts have sat on the couch or around the table, including Rosie O’Donnell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Star Jones, and Meredith Viera. Walters retired in 2014, amid fireworks that her relationship with Jenny McCarthy was toxic for both women. 

What do you expect to happen with so many personalities?

Walters wanted different viewpoints, ages, life experiences, and generations on the show. The producers expected fireworks from women who were already famous for being outspoken, and encouraged airing their differences on the show. Jenny McCarthy had equal fan club/hate club for her position on vaccinations and autism. Meredith Viera was a Today show alum, with serious journalism chops. Elisabeth Hasselbeck represented the conservative wing, most notably when she strongly opposed the FDA okaying the morning-after pill for birth control. 

Onscreen drama is the plan

The point of The View is to have spirited discussions on current events, and to represent different sides of the issues. When you bring together a group of highly successful and opinionated women to talk about their ideas, there’s going to be drama. And let’s face it–if you wanted to watch something serious and boring, you’d tune into C-span or PBS. When you watch The View, you’re getting the real talk from real women–and more substance and style than you’d get on a “serious” talk show. Spirited conversation among the cast has driven the show’s ratings in 2018 to their highest levels since 2014, when Walters retired. 

The drama is mostly manufactured

The catfighting you see on The View these days is mostly limited to the taping of the show, and the co-hosts are actually pretty friendly when the cameras stop rolling. Meghan McCain is The View’s latest lightning rod; her conservative views pit her against liberal Joy Behar almost every day. Sunny Hostin, who’s liberal, and Abby Huntsman, a conservative and friend of McCain’s, round out the left/right part of the panel. Whoopi Goldberg, who’s been on the show since she came on board in 2007, is the peacemaker on the team, and steps in when the exchanges between the left and the right get too heated. 

Unless it’s not

Sometimes the drama is real. McCarthy and Walters famously feuded off-set, and the Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck spats are legion. Star Jones famously argued with both Walters and O’Donnell before she made her surprise announcement she was leaving the show on the air, catching the entire cast and crew off guard. The cast has been on better behavior since Whoopi said in 2014 that they should all act like “grown-a** women.”

Girlfriends rule

You can tell these women really do care for each other, regardless of the on-screen drama. When you see how they all welcomed Whoopi back after her recent bout with pneumonia and then sepsis, clearly the backbiting and drama are all part of their on-screen roles. And the ladies have all rallied around Meghan McCain and her entire family since Donald Trump has started yet another Twitter war with her deceased father, Sen John McCain. So it’s fair to say that the drama on The View is created for our viewing pleasure.