Why Didn’t Meredith Vieira Ever Feel Comfortable Sharing Her Opinion on ‘The View’ and What is Her Ethnicity?

TV journalist and host Meredith Vieira has been able to work in quite a few facets of the medium, thanks to her fluid personality that can easily go, depending on the assignment, from serious and inquiring to easygoing and playful. It shows in her range of work, from news reporter on 60 Minutes to anchor on The Today Show and Dateline, to her role as game show host on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and most recently, 25 Words or Less.

Meredith Vieira
Meredith Vieira | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Deep in her resume, it’s forgotten by many that she served as co-host from 1997 to 2006 on ABC’s around-the-table talk show The View. Find out why the journalist never really felt comfortable offering her opinion on the show and what her ethnicity is.

Vieira’s new game show

Vieira’s new game show is 25 Words or Less. The show goes like this: two teams made up of celebrities and regular people playing against one another have to guess a list of five words. The hook is contestants have to use less than 25 words to do so. By the show’s final round, contestants have to help their partners guess ten words using, that’s right, 25 words or less.

Vieira is clearly enjoying working on a light-hearted game show for a change. The 65-year-old spoke to the Los Angeles Times in August about it.

left to right: Actress Lisa Kudrow and ’25 Words or Less’ Host Meredith Vieira

“I thought what made me an effective host was the fact that I was a journalist — I knew how to draw contestants out. …and relax them. I knew how to ask them questions. …and how to listen.”

“When I was offered “Millionaire,” I had friends who said, “Why are you doing that?” And I said ‘Because I like it. I’m not ashamed of it. I think it’s cool. I’m giving people money, and it’s not mine.’ What’s better than that?”

Vieira and sharing her opinions on ‘The View’

Surprisingly, the mother of three didn’t always feel completely comfortable sharing her opinion on The View during her time on the show. It all came down to her inner default position as a journalist for Vieira.

Meredith Vieira, Star Jones Reynolds, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of ‘The View’ | Marc Bryan-Brown/WireImage

“I was never totally comfortable with (sharing her views) because my background was as a journalist where you didn’t give your opinion… that was inappropriate.”

“You were there to elevate others and to give them the platform as opposed to yourself so I love the moderator role on The View because it was more just keeping the show going, the conversation going.”

What is Vieira’s ethnicity?

Vieira was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to first-generation Portuguese Americans. Vieira’s grandparents came from the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal.

Speaking at a conference at Rhode Island College in 2011, the journalist opened up about her ethnicity and how her pride in it deepened over the years.

“I’m one of those kids who grew up sort of denying my heritage. All I wanted to do was assimilate. I was Meredith Vieira, American not Portuguese-American.”

“I never really knew a lot about my background and my heritage. …had the opportunity to go to the Azores, and two things happened. One, I became incredibly proud of this name, Vieira, and also ashamed that I had denied it for so long.”

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