Whoopi Goldberg Named New 'View' Moderator

ABC's highly caffeinated coffee klatch "The View" has played host to fresh faces, frank discussion and, at times, very lively debate.

Now, it's welcoming a new woman to the mix.

Today, Barbara Walters, "The View's" creator and executive producer, announced that Oscar-winning comedian Whoopi Goldberg would join the show after Labor Day as its moderator, replacing Rosie O'Donnell, who held the position until she left the show in May.

"I have known Whoopi for years," Walters said in a statement today. "She is brilliant, funny and irrepressible, and is an enormously popular and talented star. We are delighted that she is going to join the program as our moderator. This is going to be a great new chapter for 'The View.'"

Goldberg, 51, has sat in as a guest host since O'Donnell's departure. She joins Walters and current "View" panelists Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar.

"This is a big old thrill for me," said Goldberg, who appeared with her new colleagues toward the end of the show. "The thing I'm looking forward to the most are the hot topics. The thing I'm looking forward to the least is getting in between everyone talking at one time."

More Heated Debates to Come?

Known for jump-starting the careers of past panelists Meredith Vieira and Lisa Ling, "The View" has played host to a rotating cast of characters since the departure of O'Donnell and former co-host Star Jones Reynolds, who left in June 2006.

Much buzz has surrounded who would be chosen to fill the vacated seats, with some speculating that Walters would also name comedian Sherri Shepherd, a frequent "View" guest host, as a panelist today. Other contenders for the remaining vacant spot reportedly include comedians Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers.

O'Donnell abruptly left the show in May after a heated, highly publicized on-air debate with Hasselbeck over the Bush administration and the Iraq War. Controversy prevailed through O'Donnell's reign as "The View's" moderator, most memorably in December when she took part in a drawn-out feud with Donald Trump over his handling of a scandal involving Miss USA Tara Conner.

With her household-name status and vocal criticisms of President Bush, Goldberg will likely give "The View" the star power and sound bites formerly supplied by O'Donnell. On today's show, she hinted that like her predecessor, she won't shy away from contentious topics, regardless of whether or not her co-hosts share her opinion.

"I'm going to be a little meaner than normal," she said jokingly.

"Just be yourself!" Hasselbeck said.

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