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Why Whoopi Goldberg's The View Suspension Was Actually A Huge Problem For The Daytime Show

Whoopi Goldberg returned to The View in mid-February after serving a suspension for comments she made on the show about race's role in the Holocaust. On her return she happily told her co-hosts that she’d missed them, and told the audience she was looking forward to continuing to have “tough conversations.” Goldberg’s positive spin came after reports claimed the longtime host was greatly displeased witih ABC’s handling of the situation, and it turns out her leave of absence was a big problem for the network as well, possibly for more than one reason. 

According to Nielsen, the absence of the Oscar-winning Ghost actress — who has been a main component of The View since 2007 — caused a huge drop in the chat show's ratings. While at least a portion of the viewers returned with Whoopi Goldberg, a New York Post source alleged the network might also have a problem in regards to their moderator’s behavior. The source said Goldberg’s positive attitude upon her return might have very well stemmed from her knowledge of how her suspension affected the show’s numbers. According to the source, that confidence is on display:

She’s strutting around the place. She’s peacocking.

Whether or not the reports about Whoopi Goldberg’s behavior are true, the numbers during her absence can’t be ignored. During the first full week of Goldberg’s suspension, The View lost an average of around 283,000 viewers from the previous week, giving the often politically minded talk show its lowest rating this season among women aged 18-49 and among women aged 25-54, according to Nielson ratings (per the Post). The January 31-February 4 episodes (which featured her in two pre-suspension episodes) attracted something in the area of 2.5 million viewers, falling to an average of 2.2 million the next week (February 7-11).

While it could be argued that viewers were turned away by Whoopi Goldberg’s comments, rather than the absence of the moderator, The View rebounded in viewership when Goldberg returned. For the week of February 14-18 — for which Goldberg was present for all five episodes — the show added back 113,000 viewers for a total of 2.3 million. The ratings didn’t return to their previous levels, but it was a noticeable improvement. 

Regardless of the truth surrounding Whoopi Goldberg’s alleged reaction to the ratings roller coaster, the Post’s source said such information gives the Sister Act actress power when contract negotiations come around again: 

It turns out that getting kicked off the show was the best thing that happened to her. Now she is more powerful than ever and has the receipts to prove it. Whoopi is untouchable. She’s the queen bee.

The controversy arose during the January 31 episode of The View, during which Whoopi Goldberg argued about the role race played in the Holocaust. ABC chose to suspend her, despite her public apology. After her suspension a number of people spoke out about the comments and the network’s handling of the situation — both critically and in Goldberg’s defense. Not much has been said about it in the weeks since, but it appears that might be changing if reports of her alleged behavioral changes turn out to be true.

The View airs Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. ET on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are popping up in the primetime hours.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.