"I feel grateful, I feel excited, I feel like I'm getting into the groove," McCarthy, 40, told PEOPLE at the launch party for McDonald's new Mighty Wings in New York on Sunday.
Although McCarthy's first guest – her new boyfriend, New Kids on the Block singer and Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg, 44 – made her first day as a co-host that much easier, she says she enjoys the thrill of live TV and being in New York City.
"I love being scared out of mind if something goes wrong," McCarthy said. "I'm just so happy to be out of Los Angeles. I miss [my hometown] Chicago. I'm still there on weekends, but I feel like I'm morphing into a New Yorker, and I couldn't be happier about it."
And how does her son Evan, 11, whose battle with autism she has publicly chronicled for years, feel about her move?
"My son is so funny because I let him [decide whether to stay] in Chicago and finish up school this year, or just come out with me full time, and he said, 'No, my girlfriend's in Chicago. I have to finish up fifth grade,' " McCarthy said. "But then when he comes here, he says, 'I really like it here. Maybe I'll live here and dump her.' I'm like, 'Oh, my God.' So I let him decide what he wants to do, and I'll support him."
With her first week behind her, McCarthy said she is excited about her future on The View.
"I'm looking forward to inspiring people," she says, "and making them laugh."
With reporting by MABEL MARTINEZ