A live studio audience cheered Whoopi Goldberg when she introduced herself on her first day as "The View's" moderator today, and shortly after that the new addition commenced stirring up controversy much like her predecessor, Rosie O'Donnell.
Goldberg sat alongside her co-hosts and wasted no time jumping right into the daytime show's coffee talk format.
She began by simply saying, "Good morning. I'm Whoopi Goldberg," which delighted the crowd. She also joked about co-host Joy Behar's appearance.
"You just look edible right now," Goldberg said.
But the small talk was shortlived, as Goldberg soon surprised by defending NFL star Michael Vick, who last month pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges related to the operation of a dogfighting enterprise.
Goldberg said that "from where he comes from" in the South, dogfighting isn't that unusual.
"It's like cockfighting in Puerto Rico," she said. "There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of the country."
The statement drew a quick response from Behar.
"How about dog torture and dog murdering?" Behar asked.
For many people, dogs are sport, Goldberg replied, and it appeared it took awhile for Vick to realize that he was up against serious charges.
"I just thought it was interesting, because it seemed like a light went off in his head when he realized this was something that the entire country didn't appreciate," she said.
In the Vick discussion, Goldberg served notice that she won't shy away from controversy.
Nervous About Appearance
Goldberg also stuck with another tradition established by previous co-hosts, signing off with the show's signature catchphrase.
"Take a little time to enjoy the view," she said.
Before her debut, Goldberg said she was a little nervous about the new gig.
"It's a lot to sit next to [Barbara Walters]. It's a lot. It's a huge deal," Goldberg said.
She hopes the power of positive thinking will help her succeed.
"I am going to look in the mirror and tell myself, 'Yes I can. Yes I can,'" Goldberg said. "There are things I'm going to have to learn like the sort of pop culture, who people are because this is where I'm lacking."
Even if Goldberg believes she has work to do, Walters said she is excited about the new addition to the cast.
Walters announced earlier this summer the Oscar-winning comedian would replace controversial co-host Rosie O'Donnell. And she said she wants Goldberg to bring some of her signature acts to the show.
"I also hope that Whoopi will occasionally do something from her Broadway show where she's another character," Walters said. "Let's face it, we're so lucky to have her. This is a brilliant performer."
Goldberg promises to remain relatively unbiased and professional, and said there will be no feuds.
"There are very specific lines and regulations that you don't mess with," Goldberg said. "This is a different groove. It's 11 o'clock in the morning and there's just certain things I thought you couldn't do."
But observers believe Goldberg will still bring lots of personality and ideas to the show.
"I think she's an outspoken person. I think that's in her nature, and so I'm curious to see how long she'll be able to bite her tongue," said Ali Gazan, a TV Guide writer. "I think we'll probably see moments where she does really voice her opinion, but it won't be anything like Rosie."
O'Donnell set off fireworks last year with a parade of insults hurled at celebrities like Donald Trump and a feud with conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
O'Donnell's one-year run produced the show's best ratings ever, up 18 percent over the previous year.
But some critics don't believe Goldberg's addition will have the same impact.
"I don't think it's going to have the same success that it had last year," Gazan said. "It is that whole feeling that you did tune in to see who Rosie was going to fight with and what she was going to say."
Many plan to watch and see if the daytime chat show will return to its less turbulent roots and more modest ratings.
O'Donnell's departure was not the only one in the last few years for "The View."
Meredith Vieira, the show's original moderator, left in 2006 to host "The Today Show."
Another original co-host, Star Jones, made her own controversial exit when the audience began to lose faith in her after a string of off-camera exploits.
Jones said Goldberg is exactly what the show needs right now.
"I wish her the best," Jones said. "I think she will bring intelligent diversity to the panel, and I'm glad that they're moving to the next level."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.