Sunny Hostin landed a permanent seat on The View in September 2016. By the time she became a regular co-host, Hostin already had a history with the daytime talk show. Serving as a guest contributor and then competing in a packed audition, the attorney had to think twice before going back to the “Hot Topics” table.
Sunny Hostin’s audition for ‘The View’ in 2014 didn’t go as planned
ABC had big changes planned for The View after show creator Barbara Walters retired in 2014. Controversial comedian Rosie O’Donnell was brought back to head the show with Whoopi Goldberg. Hostin was working for CNN at the time, and had already done some preliminary tests with The View. She was convinced she had the gig when she was called for the official audition, but was sadly mistaken.
“Imagine my shock when I showed up and saw something like a dozen or more women pacing around,” Hostin wrote in her 2020 memoir, I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds. “I wondered what the hell was going on. I’d thought the job was mine. And I don’t think I was alone.”
With a room full of contenders from news and entertainment, Hostin had to compete for the seat. She recalled one mock roundtable where she was grouped with O’Donnell and CNN star S.E. Cupp, which broke into a heated argument. The rest of the day continued to unravel.
“The fake segment was over,” Hostin recalled of her sit-down with O’Donnell and Cupp. “We all headed to the green room, exhausted from the fight, even though half of us hadn’t even been in it. … The whole day was like a recurring nightmare you can’t wake up from.”
The job ended up going to Rosie Perez. Hostin was told by her agent that the show “really wanted a Latina for the seat”. The decision was a “gut punch” to Hostin, who was also Latina.
‘The View’ called Sunny Hostin back
Perez didn’t last long at The View table, and the talk show went through another upheaval. Hostin got a call from ABC about a year after her audition.
“What’s the old adage?” she wrote. “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me? I wasn’t going back into that vortex again. ‘No freaking way,’ I said in not so many words.”
ABC wanted Hostin as a legal correspondent for the news division, and to fill-in on The View when co-hosts were away. While the offer was tempting and she wasn’t happy at CNN, Hostin felt burned from her last go-round with the show.
“Honestly, after hearing about the rocky period the show had been going through and in the wake of the traumatic experience I’d had during my last tryout… I was a bit gun-shy,” she explained. “Being told what I couldn’t do at CNN… the previous job at ABC that I thought I would get only to be told I was apparently not Latina enough, had all taken a toll in ways I didn’t always want to admit.”
Sunny Hostin took the gig at ‘The View’
The attorney weighed the pros and cons of the offer, and found that the opportunity came some tempting benefits.
“In many ways, was a dream job,” Hostin remarked. “Whoopi was still there. And the comedian Joy Behar, one of The View’s original co-hosts, who I’d met and adored, was rejoining the show. I’d have a strong support system at ABC, I thought, people in power around me who believed in me and my talent.”
Hostin left CNN for ABC, and was eventually tapped for a permanent seat at The View table.
“I think the producers soon realized as we went along that I did the work,” she wrote. “That I was the one who showed up without complaint and could always be depended on. … I became a full-time co-host of The View in 2016.”