'The View' 20 Years in the Making: Rarely Heard Stories From the Set

The show debuted on Aug. 11, 1997 with Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, and Debbie Matenopoulos.
6:08 | 08/24/16

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Transcript for 'The View' 20 Years in the Making: Rarely Heard Stories From the Set
One of America's most popular talk shows is getting ready to premiere its 20th season. Tonight we take a provocative and fireworks-filled look back. Are you kidding me? I don't want to hear it come out of your mouth. Reporter: The show that's kept America talking the past two decades. Assault rifles are meant to do one thing. Don't shh me. Come here, bitch, come to new York. Actually this woman is what I live for, so bring it. Reporter: "The view" famous for unforgettably outrageous moments. I gave you an opportunity -- You don't give me anything. Reporter: And to celebrate the premiere of the talk show's 20th season behind the scenes stories you've never heard before. Rosie said to me, I want you to be on the show every day. I said, no, y'all crazy. Reporter: With 18 cohosts, more than 4,000 episodes and some 25,000 hot topics, "The view" has had quite a run. If someone had used a gun -- Reporter: It all started in 1997 with legendary journalist Barbara Walters. Daytime network executives came to me and said, got any ideas for a daytime program? I've always wanted to do a show with women of different generations, backgrounds and views. Nobody thought it would be very successful. Good morning. I'm Meredith Vieira and this is the first day of our brand-new show called "The view." All of a sudden here are all these opinionated women on daytime television talking about real subjects. How are you all doing? We treated women with intelligence. Picked topics and issues that the viewers care about. We just won over the audience piece by piece. Reporter: The multi-host format the first of its kind. Nobody was doing panel talk shows before "The view." Reporter: The hot topics table often becoming the site of heated debate. We have the right to choose who we associate with -- I refuse to associate with you right now. Viewers love the feuds on the show. You are a white lady telling me what is racist to you -- I'm an American -- . I know what homophobia looks like -- It's not the same. I have a black kid I raised, whoopi. The feuds seemed to be fueling ratings. I could have lived without them. I knew we had a really good show when we interviewed rupaul. And rupaul started picking on what joy was wearing. You're wearing nice colors and stuff. But the slacks? You know. Joy got genuinely angry at rupaul and said -- Do you think that I'm going to take fashion advice from a drag queen? She was mad at her. She did not like each other in that moment. So you better take it from somebody. Reporter: From race -- To pretend it didn't say that, that it said "N" word -- Reporter: To religion, nothing off limits. This is upsetting to me. Reporter: Perhaps the most controversy generated during "The view" occurred during Rosie o'donnell's tenure as moderator. From her epic rant against Donald Trump -- Brilliant. There he is hair looping -- he's the moral authority, let the first wife have an affair -- Reporter: To the throw-down with Lisbeth hasselbeck over the Iraq war. Big fat less bean attacks innocent pure Christian Lisbeth. This was kind of personal. It became a big argument on the air. Do you believe our troops are terrorists, Lisbeth? I don't -- Do you believe, yes or no? Excuse me, let me speak. You're saying, this is a discussion happening across America. Did Iraq attack us, Lisbeth? Iraq did not attack us. Correct. Not just Rosie and Lisbeth. This represents our country right now. And you would not even look me in the face, Lisbeth, and say -- What are you talking about? No, Rosie, why don't you take this opportunity, like I'm 6. Because you are an adult and I'm not going to be the person for you to explain your thoughts. They've your thoughts. Defend your own insin ewe wayses. I defend my thoughts. Defend your own thoughts. Every time I defend them, it's poor little Lisbeth that I'm picking on. If you're watching "The view" and it goes split screen, don't leave the room. Fireworks, anger, blood. Like "Game of thrones," basically. Reporter: Then there was bill O'Reilly's explosive appearance on the show. "The view" is an interesting tore rum for a guy like me. It's primarily a Progressive show. Listen to me because you'll learn. All right? He started really talking about this sweeping generalization about muslims. Why are we saying -- It isn't appropriate. Why isn't it appropriate? 70% on 9/11 -- No, oh my god -- I felt my behind being propelled out of the seat. You know, like a poltergeist. My views about muslims -- We just walked off on him. Barbara did not like that. You have just seen what should not happen. We should be able to have discussions without washing our hands and screaming and walking offstage. I love my colleagues. That should not have happened. Reporter: Politics has always been one of the hallmarks of "The view." I think "The view" really opened politicians to a thinking woman's audience. Any candidate worth their salt should not be afraid to come on this show. I think that's the biggest pile of dog mess I've heard in ages. Why are you scared to go on shows like this rather than on "Meet the press"? "Meet the press" is easy, you guys are tough. Do you really think being on the show with a bunch of women, five women, who never shut up, is going to be calming? That is the -- look. I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched. This is it right here. Not a lot of shows stay on the air for 20 years that are driven by women. That's really worth celebrating. I give that credit torch on the show, especially to Barbara for having the vision that she had. Take a little time every day to enjoy the view.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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