Picks and Pans Review: The View
ABC (weekdays, 11 a.m. ET)
The format for this new talk show from executive producer Barbara Walters dictates that three panelists appear every morning: ABC News correspondent Meredith Vieira (labeled "Journalist/Mom" in the network's print advertising), prosecutor-turned-TV-analyst Star Jones ("Attorney/Cinderella") and 22-year-old New York University graduate Debbie Matenopoulos ("The Young One"). Some days Joy Behar ("Comedienne/Divorcée") completes the quartet; other days Walters (we'll dub her "Den Mother" even if the ads don't) joins in and Behar is dealt out.
The flaw in this scheme: Even with Jones on the team, Behar is the true star. She's funny, likable (without sacrificing irreverence) and sensible. She's much too good to be sidelined an average of two days a week. Not that we want to see less of Jones, who adroitly mixes legal expertise and earthy wisdom in the daily discussion of "hot topics" (though she tends to fawn when celebrity guests drop by). And Vieira is indispensable not only for her serious newswoman's image but for her credential as the sole parent among the everyday panelists. That leaves Matenopoulos as our choice for conversion to part-time status. Right now her principal asset is a refreshing lack of polish. The less she's on the air, the longer she'll stay innocent.
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