‘The View:’ How Meghan McCain Responded to Not Getting The Co-Host’s Job in 2014 and Why She Almost Turned It Down in 2017
Meghan McCain of ABC’s The View has become a steady presence alongside panelists Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and Sunny Hostin. Joining the show in 2017, the conservative co-host has become one of the table’s most vocal pundits, especially when it comes to politics.
When The View was undergoing some changes in 2014 to head back in a political direction, McCain was a strong candidate to become a part of the team at the table. Yet she was passed over despite being strongly advocated for by two of the show’s panelists.
Preparing for 2016 election
In 2014, show creator Barbara Walters retired, ABC execs had fired co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy, and longtime executive producer Bill Geddie had been forced out. With a landmark presidential election coming up in 2016, the network was looking to capitalize on the national event by making The View a political show again.
Adding to the staff changes, the ever-controversial Rosie O’Donnell was brought back to technically fill Walters’ seat, and Bill Wolff of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show was brought on to replace Geddie.
Network bigwigs went in search of a conservative co-host, inviting known Republicans S.E. Cupp, Ana Navarro, and Nicolle Wallace, according to Ramin Setoodah’s book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, to try out for the seat. At the time, Hostin was appearing on the show as a fill-in and considered a contender for the spot.
Other candidates included ESPN personalities Jemele Hill and Sage Steele, Bloomberg TV’s Stephanie Ruhle, and former Extra host Lauren Sanchez.
While vetting possible co-hosts, Goldberg and O’Donnell were asked to do some run-throughs with the applicants to see who would be the best fit.
“It was like The Hunger Games,” O’Donnell told Setoodah. “I think Whoopi and I were a little bit shocked at having to do a chemistry test, because I don’t know if those really work.”
The former panelist wasn’t happy with the setup for hiring their newest table member, seeing it as setting a bad tone. “It felt negative and competitive,” O’Donnell said. “I think maybe they should have taken us to dinner with the top candidates to see how we got along.”
Pushing for McCain
In the early stages of recruitment, Goldberg and O’Donnell actually found something they could agree on. According to Setoodah’s book, both panelists were “strongly advocating” to bring McCain on as the resident conservative co-host. A vocal Republican with strong political credentials, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain had been a guest on the show several times and tested well.
Yet former ABC exec Lisa Hackner wasn’t going for the idea, saying that McCain “wasn’t good TV,” as stated in Setoodah’s book. McCain’s reaction to the snub? She barely flinched.
“It’s fine,” she recalled thinking to Setoodah. “I’m going to move on with my life.”
The chosen four for Season 18 ended up being Goldberg, O’Donnell, actress Rosie Perez, and Nicolle Wallace, who served as former communications chief for George W. Bush. Perez and Wallace lasted one season.
McCain gets a seat at the table
While she didn’t get the job in 2014, she was given the co-host title in 2017 after being convinced to take the offer by her father. “I didn’t want to join,” she said in Setoodah’s book. “I thought it looked like there was too much turnover. It wasn’t the iconic show I watched when I was in college. I originally said no when they asked me, and my dad convinced me to do it.”
Before accepting the job, she called the show’s matriarch, who also had a big fan in McCain’s dad. “When they offered me the job, I called [Goldberg] before I accepted,” the former Outnumbered co-host revealed. “I asked her if she thought I could do this. It never gets old that she’s Whoopi Goldberg.”
Now one of the most talked-about members of the panel, McCain is thankful that she’s lasted on the show. “I hope it’s in my obituary that I was the first Republican since Elisabeth Hasselbeck to survive more than one season on The View,” she said. “It’s one of my proudest moments.”