Sherri Shepherd Named 'View' Co-Host

For the first time in more than a year, all the chairs at "The View's" coffee table are officially filled.

Today, Barbara Walters, the ABC daytime talk show's creator and co-host, announced that comedian Sherri Shepherd would join the panel to replace Star Jones, who abruptly left the show in June 2006.

"This is the worst kept secret of the month," Walters laughed before welcoming Shepherd as "The View's" "new permanent co-host" at the beginning of the today's show.

Shepherd has been a frequent guest host on "The View" over the past year. She was on the show in May when former moderator Rosie O'Donnell and co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck got into an infamous argument about the Iraq War that led to O'Donnell's early departure.

Many people expected Walters to add Shepherd to the show when she named Whoopi Goldberg as the show's new moderator on Aug. 1. Some speculate that Shepherd's addition was pushed back because she was holding out for more money.

Bouncing into the middle seat of "The View's" coffee table today, Shepherd laughed and shrieked as Walters, Hasselbeck, Goldberg and Joy Behar welcomed her.

"Oh my gosh, I'm actually one of the girls," she said before screaming, "I'm with all the ladies!"

Shepherd, 40, is maybe best known for her roles on the TV sitcoms "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Less Than Perfect." In a taped segment on Monday's show, Shepherd offered the following introduction for those "View" fans that don't yet know her.

"I'm the black girl on the white shows," she said.

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