The funny thing about watching any episode of daytime television staple The View is realizing that it has had many face lifts over the past two decades. When one thinks about where the show was when it first began and how it has changed over the course of its time on the air it becomes evident that The View is a breeding ground for new talent and familiar faces. But back during the first season the original cast kept things all the way real.
When The View debuted in 1997 it featured legendary journalist/creator Barbara Walters, famed attorney Star Jones, comedian Joy Behar and journalists Debbie Matenopoulos and Meredith Vieira. Vieira was tasked with becoming the show’s first official moderator, and she quickly became a fan favorite with her opinions, wit and down to earth nature. Eventually, Behar and Walters aside, each of the original co-hosts left for other endeavors. Even Vieira, a main staple in the show’s early days, left after a successful run in 2006.
Since her departure Vieira has enjoyed a very successful career, with stints as the host for the daily version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as well as co-hosting Today and being at the helm of her own talk show, The Meredith Vieira Show. Still, when reflecting on those early days as The View‘s first moderator Vieira looked back with bittersweet memories. Especially during a time when one of her closet friends on set was in jeopardy of being fired.
According to Showbiz Cheatsheet Vieira still has a great deal of appreciation for The View and how much they have maintained their standing in an ever changing television landscape. Especially when it comes to politics.
Last year, Vieira gave a shout out to the show’s recent political notoriety. “I’ll see the clips, like a lot of people do. I’m thrilled that The View continues to be relevant and reinvent itself,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “And quite frankly those political candidates would not come on that show unless they felt there was a real need to be on that show.”
However, she also revealed a time that brought her great sadness. It’s no secret that Matenopoulos was let go after attempting to survive the show for just one year. It was a decision brought upon by executives who believed she wasn’t connecting with the audience, as well as Matenopuolos’ television inexperience. In an interview with Ramin Setoodah, author of the show’s behind the scenes biography * Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View*, Vieira had this to say.
“Debbie was like a kid sister to me. I think of her as a puppy or a deer,” Vieira told Setoodah. “I always felt bad because it was like they were trying to put words in her mouth. Her opinions were not as respected. I could have never done the show at her age.”
Though Vieira unsuccessfully tried to reverse their decision Matenopoulos’ firing worked in her favor. She went on to have a career that’s still thriving and continues to not let what happened to her deter her from moving forward.