Why Barbara Walters Saw ‘The View’ Getting Canceled Years Ago

How do you replace Barbara Walters, the broadcast legend who created The View on ABC and lorded over the hit show for 17 seasons? When Walters departed in 2014, few thought there was any chance of someone filling that void.

In fact, Walters herself considered the task impossible. After watching original co-hosts Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar leave before her, Walters took leave of the show with major doubts about its ability to survive — even with Whoopi Goldberg staying aboard.

Looking back, it seems that Walters didn’t have enough confidence in her baby. With Whoopi at the helm and Joy back at the table, The View eventually clawed its way to great ratings in the past couple of years.

That rebound proved Walters wrong on one big point. On her way out the door in ’14, she told Debbie Matenopoulos the show wouldn’t last more than “a few years” more.

Barbara though ‘The View’ would die from a lack of star-power.

President Barack Obama appears on “The View” on July 28, 2010, alongside hosts Barbara Walters (L) and Joy Behar. | Saul LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

On Walters’s last week at The View, she orchestrated a reunion of the 11 co-hosts who had appeared on the show since its opening season (1997). As with so many other things going on behind the scenes, we learned what she thought about it from Ramin Setoodeh’s fascinating Ladies Who Punch.

In an excerpt published by Entertainment Tonight, we get a close-up of Walters speaking to Matenopoulos backstage the day of the reunion. (Matenopoulos exited after two seasons, in 1999.)

After telling Walters how sad she was about her leaving, Matenopoulos wondered if anyone would tune in to The View without her on-set. “Oh baby,” Walters responded. “It’s going to be canceled in a few years.”

Considering Joy and Elizabeth Hasselbeck had left the year before, Walters wasn’t sure anyone would be left. A few years later — possibly forced to google “Candance Cameron Bure” and “Raven-SymonĂ©” — Walters told Setoodeh there were days she tuned in and didn’t recognize anyone.

The departure of Whoopi could seal that fate Barbara saw coming years ago.

THE VIEW – Bette Midler is the guest, Friday, May 9, 2014. The guest co-host is Sunny Hostin and The Year of Barbara welcomes Kim Goldman.| Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

While The View recovered with core co-hosts Whoopi and Joy at the table, it’s reasonable to wonder about the show’s future without them. As Setoodeh has said, it’s tough to see the show continuing as-is without Whoopi.

In 2019, there have been days where the most remarkable thing happening was the daughter of a famous politician acting hysterically on the air. When Whoopi missed more than a month due to an illness, it became clear you couldn’t build a daytime show around Meghan McCain.

The viability of Abby Huntsman as a co-host (assuming she returns after maternity leave) also remains to be seen. Barbara Walters might recognize the names McCain and Huntsman, but beyond that we doubt she sees broadcast legends in the making.

For now, the show appears to have enough talent to survive a bit longer. According to Setoodeh’s reporting, Whoopi and Joy will stick around through the 2020 election. After that, all bets are off at The View.

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