Oprah Hosts Gabfest With the Ladies of ‘The View’

Oprah Winfrey devoted her entire show Friday to hosting the ladies of “The View,” who traveled from New York to Chicago for their first-ever group interview with the Queen of TV.

On the show, the women — Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck — got into discussions about various controversies that have broken out on “The View,” including last October’s dust-up with Bill O’Reilly, when his comments about Muslim culpability in the 9/11 terrorist attacks drove Whoopi and Joy Behar to walk off the set; the time later that month when Joy labeled Nevada Republican senatorial candidate Sharron Angle a “bitch”; and Sen. John McCain’s apparent anger with “The View” after the co-hosts questioned him sharply on the veracity of one of his presidential campaign commercials in September 2008.

On the O’Reilly controversy, Whoopi reiterated the explanation she gave several times in the weeks following the fracas – on “The View,” on O’Reilly’s own show, “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel, and even on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” when she appeared as a solo guest in November. Basically, her explanation has always been that she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to control her anger and feared she would utter a few words you’re not supposed to say on television. So she left.

On the Angle story, Behar was unrepentant when Oprah asked her about it on Friday. Joy said she regretted using “the b-word” – as she called it on “Oprah” – but nevertheless insisted that she still believes Angle is one (a bitch). Last October, Behar called Angle a “bitch,” a “moron,” “stupid” and “evil” in reacting to a campaign ad Angle was apparently running in Nevada that incorporated images of Latino gang members in its message about immigration reform. (Angle wasn’t on “The View”; the ladies were simply taking a look at her commercial and commenting on it.)

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And on the subject of John McCain, the ladies conceded that ever since they criticized his campaign ad in 2008, the senator has apparently refused to come back to “The View.” However, Walters, who sometimes socializes in the same circles as the Arizona Republican, said she’d seen him recently and was hopeful of a thaw in his relationship with her show. And Joy pointed out that she thought it was interesting that McCain suffered horribly at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors as a POW during the Vietnam War, yet years later made peace with some of them. That had her wondering why he can’t make peace with the ladies of “The View,” which seemed like a fair question.

Elsewhere on Friday’s “Oprah,” the “View” ladies screened some video of what it’s like behind-the-scenes at the show as they got ready to go on the air – getting their hair and makeup done and going over topics and questions in preparation for various guests.

Later, Sherri talked about her upcoming wedding, and Oprah asked her if she feared that if she talks about it too much on “The View” that she’ll be criticized like Star Jones, who was lambasted for seeming obsessed with her own wedding when she was a “View” co-host. In fact, Oprah took pains to avoid uttering Star’s name when she questioned Sherri about this issue.

For the record, Sherri said she wasn’t concerned about being compared to Star. And Walters chimed in with a clarification about how she feels about Star Jones today. Despite the dramatic way Star left the show in June 2006 – basically surprising Walters and everyone else by resigning on the air – Walters insisted Friday that she has no hard feelings about Star and advised Oprah that there’s no reason not to mention Star by name.

The other wayward former co-host of “The View,” Rosie O’Donnell – whose exit was at least as dramatic as Star’s and who is soon to have her own talk show on Oprah’s OWN cable channel – was never mentioned.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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