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Image: Whoopi Goldberg
Tina Fineberg  /  AP file
If Whoopi Goldberg can remain awake and inspired on “The View,” she’ll come up with some zingers that will split your gut while simultaneously challenging the way you think.
By Entertainment writer
msnbc.com contributor
updated 7/27/2007 9:40:45 AM ET 2007-07-27T13:40:45
Commentary

According to published reports in the Los Angeles Times, “The View” will soon become much more colorful — literally and figuratively.

On Wednesday the paper reported that black comediennes Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd were in negotiations to become permanent co-hosts on the popular morning talk show that has had it’s share of drama over the past year.

First Star Jones blindsided “View” boss Barbara Walters and her co-stars with a stunning announcement that she was leaving the show months earlier than her scheduled departure. Next came Rosie O’Donnell’s abrupt exit a few days after her heated verbal slug fest with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

But if Goldberg and Shepherd — the latter of who hinted that she had some major news on Sunday during a press junket for her upcoming film “Who’s Your Caddy?” — will soon be announced as the new permanent co-hosts of the 10-year-old show after weeks of on-air auditions, then Walters has made the best decision she’s made since she passed on the Paris Hilton post-jail interview.

While “The View” has been on life support creatively since Meredith Vieira bolted for TODAY, the ratings have been consistently high. Once Goldberg — an Oscar-winning actress, who sometimes looks a little displaced and bored on “The View” set — and Shepherd — a woman who was the guest host on the day of the O’Donnell-Hasselbeck fight — take their places on the sofa, there will probably be even more people taking a little time to enjoy “The View.”

And, while it will certainly be hard for some folks to get past the fact that Walters hired two black women to replace one white woman and another black one, we should all try to get over it. Just because Shepherd and Goldberg share the same complexion doesn’t mean that they are one in the same.

They’re sistahs, not sisters.

Image: Sherri Shepherd
Glenn Weiner  /  Zuma Press file
Jeff Tarpley kisses the pregnant belly of his wife Sherri Shepherd at the “Beauty Shop” premiere in 2005.
Shepherd, 40, grew up in suburban Chicago and is engaging enough to connect with all the fortysomething viewers who can’t deal with Hasselbeck’s endless crusades to glorify President Bush and all things Republican. Plus, Shepherd’s a woman who has been scorned and reborn. She recently reunited with her husband, who fathered a child outside of their union. The fact that Shepherd went public with this painful experience and then found it in her heart to forgive the father of her child, should resonate with viewers struggling to find ways to forgive those who deceive them.

She can get pretty deep for a wild child.

Goldberg, who currently hosts a syndicated morning drive radio show in New York, will most likely fill the seat once occupied by Vieira and O’Donnell. A native New Yorker, Goldeberg is a nice blend of the former co-hosts. At 51, she will speak her mind but she’ll do it in a way that’s less forceful and offensive than O’Donnell. She has more bite than bark. My concern, however, is that the former “Hollywood Squares” producer will soon grow weary of the limitations inherent on a daytime network talk show and catch the next train back to the Center Square.

And no good can come of that.

Slideshow: The week in celebrity sightings My hope is that these additions will add some much-needed balance and verve to the show.  The widening political divide between Joy Behar and Hasselbeck is more annoying than it is enlightening or entertaining. You can never get past the bickering to taste the meat. Walters, who should probably consider replacing herself within the next year, adds little to the mix. It’s OK that she tries to be the voice of calm and reason, but her passive-aggressive referring is getting old, too.

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Goldberg and Shepherd, although a couple of generations apart, are good fits for this crew because they both have the ability to find the funny in any situation — like Shepherd did during the O’Donnell-Hasselbeck blow up. And if Goldberg can remain awake and inspired, she’ll come up with some zingers that will split your gut while simultaneously challenging the way you think. And unlike some other black comediennes, Goldberg has the ability to do that without confusing white folks.

Her message is always clear and succinct.

Shepherd isn’t exactly a household name, and initially she won’t have as much influence as Goldberg. She will, however, not hold back and I suspect that she and Hasselbeck will have some heated discussions on race, marriage, religion and politics.

I look forward to their squabbles.

What I think will be most interesting, however, is the way both will relate to Behar, who occasionally says things that some blacks find offensive. Goldberg and Behar are close in age and probably share some of the same views, but unfortunately, their chemistry isn’t exactly popping.

Yet.

When and if it does blossom, watch out. On that day “The View” will become even more colorful.

Miki Turner is a freelance TV producer/writer in Los Angeles. You can reach her at dmiki@aol.com

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