The View is bringing politics to the daytime talk show, once the realm of cooking tips and fashion advice. Discussion of topics like health care is "one of the reasons I watch it," an audience member tells the Los Angeles Times. "When they do the fashion stuff, I tune out." Washington has also taken notice: "The View is definitely a show that makes it on to the agenda of staff meetings when you're doing strategic planning," says a strategist.
The show started to turn political during the 2006-07 season, when Rosie O'Donnell famously clashed with Elisabeth Hasselbeck over the Iraq war. By the 2008 presidential race, when John McCain was grilled by the co-hosts, The View had become a bona fide water-cooler topic, and now the ladies regularly welcome guests like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. As the producer points out, "We live in a time when politicians are as big, if not bigger, than movie stars."