‘The View:’ Whoopi Goldberg’s 2014 Interview on ‘Today’ Got a Bit Awkward When Asked About Rosie’s Return
Whoopi Goldberg has been a steady presence on The View since she joined the panel in 2007. Serving as moderator for over a decade, the EGOT winner has seen more than her share of turnover in co-hosts. The show got a complete overhaul in 2014 when The View’s creator Barbara Walters retired and ABC fired co-hosts Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd along with executive producer Bill Geddie.
Network execs prepared to bring on a new set of panelists to join Goldberg, who was the only one remaining on the talk show. When asked about the massive staffing changes in a Today Show interview, Goldberg seemed to bristle when anchor Savannah Guthrie referred to her as The View’s ‘matriarch’ and mentioned the return of Rosie O’Donnell.
‘The View’ cleans house in 2014
According to Ramin Setoodah’s book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, Geddie planned on regrouping with show producers to come up with new ideas for The View following Walters’ departure. Yet the executive producer never got the opportunity to launch any plans and was summoned for a mystery meeting in late June 2014 along with the co-hosts except for Goldberg.
“All of a sudden, everyone gets a phone call that says, ‘Go to this address,’” McCarthy recalled. “Bill is, like, ‘I’m getting fired.’ Bill came back, walked into his office, shut the door, spent 30 minutes in there, and never came back,” McCarthy revealed. “And then [co-host] Sherri [Shepherd] called her agent and said, ‘I’m not going to that f****** building.’ ”
Shepherd and McCarthy received the news from their agents. “I was with Jenny when she got the phone call,” Shepherd said. “She was really upset. She had specifically asked [network executive] Lisa Hackner, ‘If you are not renewing my contract, let me know.’ ”
Then, Shepherd got the call regarding her own termination. “I’m comforting [Jenny] and my phone is blowing up,” the former co-host recalled. “My manager called me and said, ‘They aren’t renewing your contract.’ ”
Whoopi Goldberg rejects the ‘matriarch’ title
In July 2014 following the firings at The View, Goldberg appeared on the Today Show to talk about the upcoming season. Co-host Savannah Guthrie kicked off the interview by acknowledging Goldberg’s tenure on the show.
“Well, I know you have fun doing The View. … Everybody’s talking about it,” Guthrie began. “First of all, you are now the Grand Dame of the View.”
“Well, I don’t know if I like that,” Goldberg responded.
Guthrie tried to make her point. “Barbara’s gone and the rest of the cast is…,” she trailed off.
“So basically I’m the only one standing is what you mean,” Goldberg firmly interjected. “Not the Grand Dame.”
The Today anchor pushed the envelope a bit. “Doesn’t Grand Dame sound good?” she asked Goldberg, who immediately replied, “No.” As the conversation became a bit awkward, Guthrie attempted to come up with other monikers but The View star was clearly uncomfortable with any sort of title.
“Ok, um, the matriarch?” Guthrie suggested. “No, no, no,” Goldberg replied. “The Grand Poobah?” the journalist asked. Finally the Oscar winner ended the conversation with, “No, just Whoop. Still standing.”
Talk of Rosie O’Donnell’s seat at the table
After the interview moved on from the title topic, Guthrie asked about O’Donnell’s return to The View table. “Everyone’s talking about who’s going be on the couch,” she said to Goldberg. “We know Rosie’s coming back. Do you like that?”
The Ghost actress was careful in her response. “You know, here’s the truth. I don’t actually know what’s going on,” she told Guthrie. “ABC are the only ones who know what’s happening. So there’s a lot of talk. Nothing has been put in cement.”
“Do you not know because you don’t want to know or because they don’t ask?” Guthrie inquired.
“I don’t know because I work like you do, for a conglomerate,” Goldberg said with a laugh. “So I might not be the first person on the list to talk stuff over with when they’re talking about their stuff.”
“So you could show up come September,” Guthrie began, where Goldberg interjected, “and there could be six turtles at the table. I won’t know until I get there and I’m ok with that. I like being part of a crew,” The View star said. “I like ensemble… Barbara Walters started The View and this will always be Barbara Walter’s show.”
“Man, woman, or turtle, we know you’ll make them look good,” Guthrie concluded with a smile. “We know you’ll have that chemistry.”
“I hope so,” Goldberg replied.
As it turned out, the combination of Goldberg and O’Donnell didn’t fly and O’Donnell left the show – again – after five months. The former talk show host has been quite vocal about her not-so-warm-and-fuzzy feelings toward Goldberg, where the EGOT star has chosen to remain mum on the topic.