Thursday, March 4, 2010

Whoopi and Barbara - How They Balance Each Other on The View

by Janis Brett Elspas
Today while reading the Los Angeles Times I came across Mary McNamara's story in the L.A. Times Critic Notebook.  In this piece, McNamara is comparing American Idol's Ellen DeGeneres to Simon Cowell and how their personalities intermingle to meet the show's objectives.

This morning's American Idol story triggered me to reflect on The View and how the dynamics change on that show when Whoopi Goldberg (the regular moderator) has a day off and Barbara Walters, who is one of the producers of this daytime talk program as well as appearing with the co-hosts on average about three times per week, fills in to orchestrate the chat.

Both women are great talents and I doubt they could ever switch places.  Barbara and Whoopi contrast with each other like no one else could, since they are complete opposites.  No, I'm not talking about the fact that Barbara is from Boston and Whoopi is a native of New York nor am I referring to their differences in age or even in the huge economic gap in their childhood upbringings.  It's simply the way they project their personalities and how they are perceived by the audience.  So, to compare these ladies with another high caliber onscreen pair, I'd say they are a lot like American Idol's Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, who both bring something very different to America's favorite talent show.

If anyone asked for my opinion, I'd say Barbara is definitely the one in charge here.  After all, she's one of the show's producers and most certainly has a talent for those one-on-one celebrity interviews she is so famous for.  But, I think her demeanor is much too strong, dominant, and serious when she's  a fill-in moderator for Whoopi -- to bring out casual and lively chat not only among the co-hosts but on shows where The View is interviewing more than one person together onscreen.  Barbara knows her strengths and weaknesses, though.  She said, "There were too many people,"  explaining why she did not go on-camera when the rowdy cast of the Jersey Shore stopped by to schmooze several weeks ago.

Whoopi, on the other hand, is very hippy-dippy, very earthy, very approachable and has a gift for immediately putting her co-hosts as well as interview subjects at ease on the show.  Yet, I can't imagine her interviewing high profile world figures like Barbara who does it better than anyone else ever could.  Unlike Barbara though, Whoopi is funny, easy-going, and has a real sense of humor  that never comes off as being awkward or forced.  That's probably also why Barbara hired Whoopi to moderate her show.

In conclusion, their personalities are like apples to oranges -- both widely different yet also complimentary.  I'm just a mommy blogger, not a TV critic or heavyweight Hollywood producer, but if I had to sum it all up, I'd simply say that Barbara and Whoopi provide the required bookends that hold The View together.

What's your view on The View cast members? Which one of them do you think is the "Simon" and which one is the "Ellen" of this hard-hitting talk show? Leave a comment, we'd all love to know.

FTC Disclosure:  Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert, is a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review.  See detailed FTC Disclosure that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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