I recently ran into "The View" co-host Joy Behar - and her significant other Steve - in the security line at The Newark airport. I was standing in the slow-but-sure line, pondering at which second I would take my shoes off before I placed my belongings on the conveyer belt (so my feet wouldn't have to touch the dirty carpet for too long). As my eyes surveyed what was going on ahead of me, they landed on a woman with a face full of makeup and big, teased red tresses that - at a glance - gave me Bette Midler, perhaps Lucy (but I knew she was dead), or even a drag queen who didn't have a chance to wash his makeup off from the night before as this was an early afternoon flight. But as I focused my eyes into "view", I realized with enthusiasm that it was Joy. Stretching myself to seize the moment, I touch her shoulder and say "How much do I love you?". She looks at me, not so much startled but with ease and asks me back "Well, how much?". I tell her in my best nasal quip "You're alright!". She laughs and then I more officially introduce myself to she and Steve. As I hip her to where I'm going and vice versa, we realize we have friends in common and manage to hold our fun and light conversation through the X-ray threshold and beyond to when we put our shoes back on.
In that moment, I think to give her some feedback on the NEW "View", which this season welcomed Rosie O'Donnell as the "moderator" (READ: what Meredith Vierra was before she left to fill Katie Couric's post at NBC's "Today"). I tell Joy that I am liking "The View" much more than I expected as I felt Rosie would be TOO MUCH for an ensemble cast. Actually, though, I find she's blending in quite well alongside her Rosie-esque signatures (give-aways, confetti, left-wing politics, kid chat). And according to Nielsen, the ratings haven't looked this good in a long while. Joy pointed out that they were still getting their groove with the new addition, but that they are all enjoying themselves for the first time in a long time.
You'll recall, a couple of months after Meredith vacated her seat, the sole sister on the panel Star Jones Reynolds announced that she would no longer be continuing on at "The View" (after months of rumors that her contract was not being renewed). Though Star's announcement didn't quite land those specifics, her scoop to "People" (later that same day) did. ("I was fired!" she exclaimed). That press would provoke Barbara Walters to take her boxing gloves off and bring the claws out as she alerted viewers the following day that Star was - in fact - fired by the network, but she and co-executive producer Bill Geddie were aiming to protect star and let her go out "with dignity". Well, Star then went to Larry King LIVE! and told it ALL. And since that time, she has been under the radar, plotting her comeback. Keep in mind, this blow came atop criticism over her weight-loss and how exactly she lost over 150 pounds (Though not corroborated by Mrs. Reynolds, most believe she underwent gastro-bypass). Also, her marriage to Al Reynolds proved a media circus, but many argue she was the ringleader in reportedly pursuing commercial kick-backs from vendors for her elaborate wedding (not to mention there were questions about Mr. Reynolds orientation and whether the union was even authentic).
All of that aside, I say to Joy that as much as I appreciate what Rosie is bringing to the table (including diversity around her lesbianism and being another mom on the panel), "You ladies need to get some color up in the mix!". She agrees and alerts me that they had a Korean on that day. I applaud her, but - from my filter - offer that they need a "sistah". Joy acknowledges the direction of my advisement with "Ahhhh! A sistah!!!!" She laughs and says that once they are solid with the team a la Rosie, they will begin to try out more "women of color". Since that chat, we've seen the return of Al Roker's wife Deborah Roberts, ABC correspondent on 20/20. We've seen local New York City anchor (ABC affiliate) Lori Stokes. And this week, Judge Glenda Hatchett joined the ladies to good effect, but her personality seems so much bigger than cross-talk can provide (Keep in mind, she's the judge that can "shhh..." a person with the click of a gavel... and now she's got to excuse herself to get a word in edge-wise? I don't think so!). Prior to Rosie coming on, we saw a revolving door of African American women getting us through the post-Star summer weeks - including Brandy, EXTRA's Tanika Ray, Kelly Rowland ("Destiny's Child"), Tisha Campbell-Martin, etc.
I would like to see "The View" try out Shaun Robinson from "Access Hollywood", Sheryl Lee Ralph, and I just loved seeing Gayle King as a guest (on the same show on which Rowland co-hosted), but she's clearly busy these days as the - watch out Wendy Williams!!! - "New Queen of All Media"?????
As Joy and Steve walk away, we realize our departures are one gate from each other. So, our conversation continues and we do some more shop talk and dishing. Then, we stumble into another familiar face, Rosie's "wife" Kelly, who was going somewhere out of Newark airport. Steve introduces me and tells her about some of my recommendations. Kelly says "That [advice] means something coming from you!". I guess there's a buzz about "The Life of Riley", already huh? Well, maybe not. But this I know for sure. Joy Behar is one cool, er... SISTAH! I LOVE HER!!!
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