‘The View:’ Author of ‘Ladies Who Punch’ Says Higher Ratings are Due to Meghan McCain

ABC’s daytime program The View is taking the remote route like most talk shows during the coronavirus crisis, with Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Meghan McCain discussing hot topics via video call from home.

Chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama of the show, Ramin Setoodah’s 2019 tell-all book was just released in paperback with some updated tidbits. Through his research, Setoodah has previously concluded that the show’s reemergence over the past few years can be attributed to the addition of conservative co-host McCain.

Meghan McCain of ‘The View’ | Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

Meghan McCain brings in ratings

The conservative political pundit was offered the job at the daytime talk show in 2017, yet she was a bit reluctant to sign on. “I didn’t want to join,” she told Setoodah in his book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View. “I thought it looked like there was so much turnover. It wasn’t the iconic show I watched when I was in college.”

It took her father, the late Senator John McCain, to make her reconsider. “I originally said no when they asked me, and my dad convinced me to do it,” she said.

McCain joined the table and immediately made her mark as the resident Republican. The outspoken conservative brought spirited yet insightful debates to the mostly liberal table, which according to Setoodah’s book, caused a definite spike in viewership for the 2017-2018 season with ratings at its highest in four years.

Ramin Setoodah credits Meghan McCain for the ratings boon

After his extensive research on the show and interviewing multiple co-hosts from the past, Setoodah attributed the resurgence in the show to McCain’s presence at the table. Being called ‘The Most Important Political TV Show in America’ by The New York Times Magazine, The View’s notoriety went up considerably after McCain signed on.

“Meghan is really the first true conservative that they’ve had since Elisabeth,” Setoodah told Salon last year. “They’ve had a number of Republicans, but they weren’t actually acting like Republicans on the show. They would go on the show, and they’d agree with the other co-hosts.”

While some fans of the program consider McCain to be divisive, Setoodah seems to think her strong-willed demeanor is what’s making viewers tune in. “Meghan really says what she believes on the show, and she sticks to her conservative ideals,” the author said. “I think now in this era that we’re in sometimes it touches a nerve, but it also makes for really good television.”

Setoodah commented that McCain’s willingness to go against her fellow panelists’ opinions makes her a must-have on The View. “I think the formula of The View doesn’t work without Meghan on the show right now,” he said. “The viewership is up and has been up, and I think it’s a result of Meghan being on the show and actually saying what she believes and not just agreeing with the other co-hosts… This is a conservative who believes in what she says as a conservative.”

‘The View’ star considers herself the show’s first ‘real Republican’

With the daytime talk show’s history of revolving co-hosts, even some who went under the title of Republican, McCain told Setoodah she considers herself to be the first panelist to truly personify a conservative.

“I think the reason I worked and other Republicans didn’t is because I’m the first real Republican they hired,” McCain told Setoodah, adding a reference to a former vocal conservative. “Yes, I think I’m more of a Republican than Elisabeth is.”

Setoodah noted in his book that McCain was in no way shading former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, to whom McCain has often given glowing shout outs, but rather bringing her lifelong standing in politics to the table. In comparison to former conservative co-hosts, McCain told Setoodah that she may fit the bill more than her predecessors.

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Bury me in a red power suit.

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“I was born in this environment. I think there were a lot of people they hired that are in the mushy middle, or they are Republicans who are ashamed of being Republicans – or they are intimidated,” The View co-host explained. “Nicole Wallace switched parties. Candace Cameron was a social conservative.”

With ratings remaining strong and the 2020 presidential election around the corner, fans can count on McCain being at The View’s table for quite some time.