The View premiered its 18th season on Monday with the return of its most provocative panellist, Rosie O’Donnell, and just like the last time O’Donnell was on the morning talk show, ratings soared.
Just under four million people tuned in to see Ro, who was joined by Whoopi Goldberg, longtime View moderator (the seat O’Donnell used to hold during her 2006/07 run), and two other new castmastes — Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace, who were selected after battling it out against their competition in what O’Donnell calls a Hunger Games showdown.
“They made people knife each other in the green room,” O’Donnell told the live audiene, “and these are the two that won.”
The numbers are the highest they’ve been since O’Donnell’s last premiere, in 2006, and the highest they’ve been for the show’s target demographic, women aged 25 to 54, and women aged 18 to 49, since 2011.
The View has been revamped since the retirement of Barbara Walters last year (although she did make an appearance on the Season 18 premiere, presiding over the new panel from a throne) and following the departures of longtime view producer Bill Geddie and panellists Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy.
“I feel good: I wouldn’t have said yes to coming back if I didn’t,” O’Donnell told Variety. “The concept of being able to do this show in a way that celebrates and elevates women is hard for me to resist.”