Picks and Pans Review: The View

updated 06/26/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/26/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (weekdays, 11 a.m. ET)

Show of the week

Almost three years after its debut, here's a small suggestion for improving The View: Drop that opening with Barbara Walters explaining, "I had this idea for a show...." By now, the nation knows that the regulars—executive producer Walters, 68; Joy Behar, 57; Meredith Vieira, 46; Star Jones, 38; and Lisa Ling, 26—are supposed to be speaking for their respective age groups. "We rarely agree with anything on this show," Jones said one morning last month. "It's multi-generation and it's designed to be that way." But, she added, the panel was unanimously gaga at the gorgeousness of guest Henry Simmons from NYPD Blue.

Which brings us to another modest proposal: The View would benefit from, say, a 10-percent reduction in fawning. Jones is the most effusive member of the team (she had a religious experience when Miss Diana Ross graced the studio), but leader Walters sets an unfortunate example with her gushing over Kathie Lee Gifford, Carly Simon, et al.

What else needs changing? Not much. The format still clicks almost every time the women sit down with their coffee mugs to gab about the hot topics of the day. There's an air of candor that can't be faked—not entirely, anyway. Though she reaches at times for the "politically incorrect" remark, Ling is a more assured contributor than Debbie Matenopoulos, whom she replaced last year. And the indispensable Behar always knows when to trust her comedian's instincts and cut through the cross-generational dialogue with a quip.

Bottom Line: Steady viewing

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