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When Barbara Walters created The View back in the 1990s, the show appeared to instantly fill a void. Nearly 22 years since its August ’97 debut, questions about its staying power got answered years ago.

These days, arguments between the show’s hosts often end up as stories in entertainment and political news outlets. When someone releases a new album or decides to run for president, they stop by The View and pay tribute to the likes of Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg. (Walters, now 89, departed in 2014.)

In short, the show has considerable influence. However, for perspective, it does not quite stack up in audience size to the shows of Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, and other heavyweights of cable news and opinion.

In 2018, the show matched its audience of the Barbara Walters era with 2.9 million viewers per day.

Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini were the guests of 12/12/18 on ABC’s ‘The View.’ |Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

Not surprisingly, The View had its largest audience with Walters aboard representing the more senior generation. The 2012-13 season stood as the show’s most successful year in recent memory before the 2017-18 season matched it with an average of 2.9 million viewers.

Some media critics credited the show’s ratings bump with the dawning of the Trump era, which has prompted crackling discussions between Behar and conservative co-host Meghan McCain. Others have pointed to McCain’s presence as helping push the ratings higher.

Of course, for a show described as “reliably liberal” by Fox News, we can’t see the presence of a conservative host moving the needle too much. The equivalent would be someone watching Tucker Carlson Tonight because they heard Tucker had a liberal guest booked. (It’s unlikely.)

The more likely reason, one which TVNewser’s A.J. Katz cites frequently, is that folks watch to hear Behar and the gang knock Trump and his flailing administration. That’s been the secret to MSNBC’s success with Lawrence O’Donnell and Maddow in recent months.

While ‘The View’ trails the top cable-news shows, it dominates ‘The Talk’ on CBS.

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is a guest on ABC’s “The View,” Tuesday, February 19, 2019. | Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

Comparing The View to shows by Maddow and Hannity won’t make complete sense, for obvious reasons (e.g., the entertainment angle missing on MSNBC and Fox prime-time shows). We included those numbers as a way of gauging total audience.

A better comparison would be CBS’s The Talk, which was a response to the success of The View. In a head-to-head matchup, The View was beating The Talk by an average of 600,000 viewers per day in late 2018. ABC’s mid-day show also had sizable leads in the younger demographics (18-49 and 25-54).

In brief, The View has a considerable audience, about 200,000 fewer viewers less than the top cable-news shows but far more than Fox & Friends (1.5 million viewers), another show that mixes pop culture and politics.

Morning shows like Good Morning America (4.2 million) and Today (4.19 million) wield more overall influence, at least as far as advertisers are concerned.

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