“The View” is in an “epic fight for survival,” according to new report

Nancy Siesel/The New York Times

Vanity Fair has published a fascinating story on the chaos left in the wake of Barbara Walters’ departure from The View. The legendary TV journalist who created The View in 1997 left the show — in both her hosting and executive producing capacities — when she retired from ABC last May. Since she left, the ratings have plunged, bitter disfunction between the co-hosts has ensued behind the scenes (and at one point actually spilled over in front of a live studio audience) and Rosie O’Donnell abruptly left the show not even a full season into her much-hyped return. As recently as 2010, The View reached its apex in terms of viewership at 6.6 million viewers for a historic episode during which President Obama was a guest, but this season its ratings have sunk to under 3 million viewers. According to unnamed sources, Walters is distraught that her legacy, “her baby,” is crumbling and she frequently makes calls into the control room during live broadcasts and contacts producers with suggestions. During her 18-year run with The View, Walters had a 50 percent ownership stake in the show, which gave her substantial control over the show’s direction. She’s said to have run the show “with a velvet-gloved steel fist.” But Walters sold her controlling stake in it back to ABC, and now says she regrets that fateful decision. Be sure to read the whole story for more details on the explosive relationship between Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg, behind the scenes political maneuvering by network execs and longtime executive producer Bill Geddie’s departure from the show.

Read the full story at Vanity Fair.

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