*ABC gave fans of “The View” a nice surprise on Friday with original co-hosts Meredith Vieira, Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos back at the Hot Topics table with fellow OG and current co-host Joy Behar.
Vieira sat in her old moderator’s chair, with Matenopoulous at the other end and Jones next to Behar in the middle – just as they did 20 years ago.
ABC producers also brought out the show’s first wooden Hot Topics table, dusted off the original sofas and pulled out several of the original cast mugs for the ladies, who went on to offer their thoughts on the election and other big news stories of the week…as if they never left.
— The View (@TheView) November 11, 2016
“As soon as we started the 20th season, this is one of the first ideas that came up,” says co-executive producer Brian Teta, who helped organize the secret show. “I have always been a fan of ‘The View.’ I like the idea of an alternate reality, where the panel stayed exactly the same: how would Meredith, Star and Debbie react to the political season? I thought it would be a fun way to honor Barbara Walters’ vision.”
According to Variety, the foursome were at home with staff members that started working on “The View” on day one and never left—including producer Dana Fisher, writer Christian McKiernan, booker Donald Berman, associate director John Keegan, editor Rich Provost, stylist Fran Taylor, stage manager Rob Bruce Baron, technical director Rene Butler and props coordinator Bo Kronyak.
Walters, who was unavailable for the reunion, started “The View” 19 years ago with executive producer Bill Geddie as a forum for women of different generations to gab about politics and pop culture.
In the first week in November, “The View” averaged 2.94 viewers, the fourth week in a row with year-to-year gains, and it outperformed CBS’ “The Talk” (2.7 million viewers). In its 20th season, the current panel of “The View” features moderator Whoopi Goldberg, Behar, Candace Cameron Bure and Sara Haines.