‘The View’: How Whoopi Goldberg’s Insomnia Helped Sunny Hostin Land a Co-Hosting Gig on the Show

Sunny Hostin became a full-time co-host on The View in September 2016. The attorney had plenty of practice before becoming a regular panelist, often serving as a guest host in the years prior to her joining the show. Hostin first got on The View’s radar when moderator Whoopi Goldberg was perusing the news after midnight.

Sunny Hostin smiling and holding papers at the table of 'The View'
Sunny Hostin of ‘The View’ | Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Pre-‘View’, Sunny Hostin anchored ABC’s late-night news

Though Hostin was an analyst on CNN, she wanted a bigger role in news. She eventually got a call from ABC asking her to be a substitute anchor for their overnight program.

World News Now and America This Morning came on at 2:30 a.m. and stayed on through the wee hours,” Hostin explained in her 2020 memoir, I Am These TruthsA Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds. “But as late as it was, everyone in the industry watched it, as did over two million viewers. (Insomniacs, new moms, shift workers, hospital staff, cops, a lot of people.)”

Hostin made a name for herself at the late-night news desk, and caught the attention of a longtime co-host of The View.

“It turned out one of those rabid insomniac fans of World News Now and America This Morning was Whoopi Goldberg,” Hostin shared. “Beyond her multiple talents, including a wicked sense of humor, Whoopi is incredibly well informed and thoughtful. She watches lots and lots of news.”

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Whoopi Goldberg put Sunny Hostin’s name in for ‘The View’

Goldberg was so impressed with Hostin’s performance on the nocturnal news program, she dropped her name as a potential co-hosting candidate to The View’s executive producer.

“I soon found out that after seeing me anchor one night, Whoopi mentioned me to Bill Geddie, who co-created The View with Barbara Walters and was its executive producer for nearly 20 years,” Hostin said. “‘I saw this girl Sunny Hostin, and she was really, really good,’ I learned she told Bill. ‘We could use someone like her on our show.’ “

Seeing Hostin’s chemistry with her co-anchor Rob Nelson, Goldberg felt she could be mesh well with the format of The View.

“Whoopi thought I was funny, and she saw the similarity between a segment Rob and I did called ‘The Mix’ and ‘Hot Topics’ on The View,” Hostin recalled. “Both required rapidly diving into a mélange of the day’s most-talked-about-headlines, and Whoopi saw that I could handle it.”

Sunny Hostin got the call for ‘The View’

Though it took some time, Hostin eventually got a seat at The View table and proved to be quite adept at co-hosting.

“After Whoopi brought me up to Bill Geddie, I began being invited to fill in on the show,” she wrote. “Those pseudo tryouts had begun a couple of years before, in 2012. … When I sat on the set, sparring about politics and pop culture, I felt incredibly comfortable. I felt like, ‘I know how to do this.’ It felt like home.”

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After passing up an offer to become a contributor on The View, show producers asked Hostin to formally try out for a full-time role at the table.

“Whoopi kept on talking about me,” Hostin said. “And one day, I got an out-of-the-blue call, asking me to audition to be one of the permanent co-hosts of The View.

Hostin ended up losing the chair to Rosie Perez, but was given permanent panelist status on The View in 2016.