Sherri Shepherd and Sunny Hostin spoke on the "Behind The Table" podcast about the unconventional way Shepherd became a co-host on "The View," what she learned from sitting at the table for seven years and why she decided to be transparent about her salary when Hostin joined the show.
Though Shepherd and Hostin were never on "The View" panel together, the two have been friends for years. They joined together for an effortless and honest conversation about the show in the special podcast series, which celebrates the Emmy award-winning talk show's 25th season on air.
With new episodes of the podcast every Tuesday, Shepherd and Hostin talk for the second episode of the series, following the premiere episode featuring "View" originals Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.
Currently co-hosting "The View," Hostin is a former lawyer and previously served as a host and legal analyst at CNN, as well as a fill-in co-anchor for ABC News’ "World News Now" and "America This Morning."
Beginning her career as a stand-up comedian, Shepherd concurrently worked as a legal secretary to help fill in the wage gap that came with pursuing comedy at the time. Eventually, she landed a role on the ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect" in 2002. Shepherd claims that sitcom ultimately launched her into "The View" limelight.
In 2007, Shepherd became an official co-host of "The View" and spent seven years on the panel. From being questioned about if the world was flat on her first day as an official co-host, to show creator Barbara Walters helping her to find her voice, Shepherd and Hostin discuss it all on "Behind The Table."
No one knows when or how their big break will come about, and Shepherd’s journey to landing a spot at the Hot Topics table as "View" co-host was no different.
It all started when Shepherd was trying to promote "Less Than Perfect" on the show, and was unsuccessful time after time. But when American lawyer and civil activist Johnnie Cochran died in 2005, then co-host Star Jones left an empty seat at the table while she attended his funeral service.
Pregnant on bed rest and tirelessly trying to get on the show, Shepherd made the right call at the right time. If she could get to New York City in time, she could be on "The View," but final call was really up to her doctor.
When Shepherd asked her doctor about flying, the doctor reminded her she was on bed rest. Shepherd said she responded, "Look, is the baby gon’ come in the air?" She said the doctor replied, "'No, but you have to be careful.' That's all I needed."
Right up until Shepherd was supposed to walk out on stage, she was in a wheelchair. The next day, she received a call asking her to get back on a plane to do the show again.
Shepherd continued to make appearances on "The View," but told Hostin it was the infamous split-screen dispute between then co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck that "cemented" her spot on the panel in 2007.
"What cemented me coming on was Rosie O'Donnell got into it with Elisabeth Hasselbeck," she told Hostin.
"The permanent co-host position was between Kathy Griffin or Sherri Shepherd," she continued. "This is how God be moving. They gave Kathy Griffin the Friday, and they gave me Thursday. So we each had a day and all of the stuff happened on Thursday."
As a guest co-host that day, Shepherd said she “didn't know that there was tension between Lizzie and Rosie.” She later came to realize in the Hot Topics briefing room that "there was tension," but she "didn't know why."
When the quarrel began on live on-air, Shepherd recalled trying to "make it lighter" in the moment. She details her experience of the incident on "Behind The Table," and went on to explain how she believes her handling of it made her a permanent co-host.
Shepherd said that later that day, O’Donnell told her, "I like you, Sherri, because you just you make everybody relax. I want you to come on the show."
She went on to say that in the end, she was chosen because "So many people wanted to interview me and I said, 'No, that's the family business. I'm not doing any interviews.'"
"I think that impressed Barbara Walters and [then executive producer] Bill Geddie," she added. "So I got the job of the co-host."
On "Behind The Table," Shepherd also looked back on what she calls the "worst" and "best" day of her life, her proudest moment and when she was told by executives in charge in 2014 that the show was going in another direction and didn’t renew her contract.
Two years after Shepherd left "The View," Hostin joined the panel in 2016. She commended Shepherd’s support, guidance and salary transparency as she became co-host.
"I had never in my life had a woman be so transparent about her pay history, about the perks that she had received, about the leverage I could use," Hostin told Shepherd. "I’m always so thankful, because it was sort of life-changing for me."
Hostin said that because of Shepherd’s counsel, she knew "how to navigate the show" and "what to ask for," which is something she’d never experienced in her career before.
In the second episode of "Behind The Table," Shepherd and Hostin catch up on life, discuss how Walters helped Shepherd and share everything that happens in the sisterhood of co-hosts.
"We really are like sisters," she said. "You're like in a sorority that no one is a part of unless you are a co-host of 'The View.'"
Listen to more of Sherri Shepherd and Sunny Hostin’s “Behind The Table” podcast episode: