Out with the old, on with the new. Again.
EW has learned that comedian Michelle Collins will join the ever-evolving panel on The View. ABC is expected to make her hire official in the next week.
Collins, who has guest-hosted this season after Rosie O’Donnell gave up her seat in February, will sit alongside veteran Whoopi Goldberg, freshman host Nicolle Wallace and newbie Raven-Symoné on the show that’s about to wrap its 18th season. The comedian will join the show as Rosie Perez, who was hired last fall, prepares to exit at season’s end.
It seemed likely that Collins and Symoné were shoo-ins to join the gabfest after Goldberg told the audience in May that “we are trying to make it permanent, so write in to everybody.” Collins used to appear on Kathy Griffin’s Bravo talk show, as well as Chelsea Lately and The Tyra Banks Show.
Ever since the popular (yet sometimes polarizing) hosts Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselback left before star and founding executive producer Barbara Walters hung up her hat, the talk show has struggled to maintain its unique and powerful voice in daytime. Competing shows like The Talk have managed to gain headway by offering a kindler and gentler alternative to The View, which has struggled to find hosts that resonate with the audience.
There are rumors of more change in the wind — like a rotating group of hosts that will fill another chair on the panel — but those probably won’t occur until the fall.
On Wednesday’s telecast of The View, a teary-eyed Perez made her departure official by addressing the audience.
“I really want to thank The View.Thank you very, very much and the entire ABC family for such a great opportunity to be part of such an iconic show that has opened me up to a broader audience and I will be forever grateful for that, but the ones that I want to thank the most are the fans,” she said. “It warms my heart, it really does, every time one of you guys come up to me and say, ‘I love you on The View,’ it just makes my day. And I really want to give a special thank-you to the Latin community. It’s a huge honor to be the first Latina on The View. What the hell took you so long? Your support thorugh this journey as a community has helped me through this year and I will never forget what you have done for me. I will always continue to stand up for you guys, for our rights, and for the promotion and empowerment of all women of all colors.”