Barbara Walters knows imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.
The legendary broadcast journalist has seen the approach of her weekday ABC show “The View” — of which she’s an executive producer as well as a host — parodied by NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and borrowed by other programs including the new CBS entry “The Talk,” which premieres Monday, Oct. 18.
“We’ve been imitation-mongers from the time we began,” Walters tells Zap2it before giving a speech Saturday (Oct. 9) at the University at Albany (N.Y.). “At one point, Dick Clark did a [similar] show with all men, and the morning shows also have done it.” Indeed, some deem the Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford-hosted fourth hour of the weekday “Today” to be NBC’s stab at “The View.”
“The idea for ‘The View’ is not that unusual or unique,” allows Walters, now recovered from her recent heart surgery. “You have people with different personalities and different opinions and, to some degree, different ages. I’ve been very lucky, because what it really is is the chemistry, to have intelligent women and also to have women with opinions that are not the same.”
“The Talk” clearly is aiming for that as well, with a mix of female hosts that includes Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini (“The King of Queens”) and series creator-producer Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”).
“Other programs will copy us,” Walters acknowledges, “just as there are certain kinds of discussion programs now on Fox News Channel or MSNBC. It’s people talking, people talking, people talking. The most important thing is who it is that’s doing the talking.
“To have Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd … these are very smart women, and they’re also funny. Three out of the five of us are comedians, so we can be very serious, but we can also be funny and entertaining.”
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