The View secrets are laid bare, as Whoopi gunned for Barbara Walters' job

When Barbara Walters created The View the intention was to make it a serious morning TV talk show with carefully chosen, mild-mannered co-hosts. 

But the show soon turned into a real life scrappy soap opera inciting bitchiness and tussles on camera, as well as behind the scenes.

The claws were out and no subject was off limits in its Hot Topics debates between the co-hosts.

'When Barbara started the show, with a group of pals (Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Debbie Matenopoulos), news and opinion were clearly separated,' writes Ramin Setoodeh, author of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, published by Thomas Dunne on Tuesday.

'In the pre-Twitter age, reporters weren't allowed to tell the public what they thought, let alone speculate about a president's marriage or relationship to his mistress or children (which The View made into a national pastime). 

Debuting in the late summer of 1997, Meredith Vieira described it as feeling 'like the summer of infidelity'.

High profile scandals like Paula Jones' civil suit against Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby testifying in an extortion trial and Frank Gifford caught cheating on his wife Kathie Lee with a flight attendant helped establish high ratings on the new show.

When Barbara Walters created The View the intention was to make it a serious morning TV talk show with carefully chosen, mild-mannered co-hosts. But the show soon turned into a real life scrappy soap opera inciting bitchiness and tussles on camera, as well as behind the scenes. Pictured l-r: Original co-hosts Star Jones, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Debbie Matenopoulos and Barbara Walters in 1997

When Barbara Walters created The View the intention was to make it a serious morning TV talk show with carefully chosen, mild-mannered co-hosts. But the show soon turned into a real life scrappy soap opera inciting bitchiness and tussles on camera, as well as behind the scenes. Pictured l-r: Original co-hosts Star Jones, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Debbie Matenopoulos and Barbara Walters in 1997

Princess Diana died in Paris that August and five months later, the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. The View was the only show talking about the stain on the dress.

Squabbles and backstabbing were de rigeur at the show Barbara Walters built says author Ramin Setoodeh of the new book about The View, Ladies Who Punch

Squabbles and backstabbing were de rigeur at the show Barbara Walters built says author Ramin Setoodeh of the new book about The View, Ladies Who Punch

Both events helped catapult the show into the national spotlight.

The co-hosts targeted Donald and he became the show's biggest villain.

Co-host Joy Behar talked about his nasty separation from Marla Maples. 'You know what? They name a kid after a jewelry story. Give me a break'!

watched the show every morning without fail and went on The View often for self-promotion.

When he made a sexist comment about the Miss America pageant allowing contestants to wear a two-piece bikini, Meredith commented on air, 'Thank you, Donald. I can judge an a** when he's fully dressed'.

Rosie O'Donnell detested and would go on about his Kool Aid orange hair, his finances and his womanizing. 

Walters then waged her own secret campaign against Rosie, despite the comedian's success as a co-host. And Barbara concurred with her friend Donald, who she often met for lunch, that she was trouble. 

Indeed, squabbles and backstabbing were rampant on the show and, like the title of the book, the ladies pulled no punches. Some examples are described below:

'WHOOPI  GOLDBERG

Whoopi Goldberg was  addicted to control and was vying for the hosting job – as was Rosie, who described working with Whoopi as the most painful experience personally and professionally in her life.

Whoopi took over hosting when Barbara retired and had no intention of ever letting her back - even for a few days.

Whoopi shut down any discussions about the Bill Cosby rape allegations even after dozens of women came forward with accusations of rape and that infuriated Rosie who had problems with sitting next to 'a rape defender' on TV.

Whoopi Goldberg was addicted to control and was vying for Walter's job – as was Rosie, who described working with Whoopi as the most painful experience personally and professionally in her life

STAR JONES 

Star became morbidly obese topping the scales at 307 lbs. She had a gastric bypass but claimed that she lost 75 lbs. in six months simply by dieting.

Star wanted to keep the surgery a secret from the public, but her co-hosts resented that she asked them to lie about how she lost the weight on the air and producers were angry because they wanted her to talk about it.

Jones shared the news that she'd had the operation in 2007, but it was only after the information had hit the gossip columns. Jones suspected it was Walters and Behar who tattled, according to the book which goes on to suggest that they also got back at her by informing Star that her fiancé was gay - or at least bisexual.  

But becoming the second most popular black woman on TV, after Oprah, went to her head and she lived for the applause.

After the fiasco - where she was outed for accepting freebies - she got the axe.

The weight loss and circus had created an impenetrable wall between Star and her co-hosts.

Each one had something they did not want to talk about on air.

'Barbara had surgeries that we were not talking about, Meredith's husband had MS and she did not want to talk about it,' Star stated.

'I always felt it was our obligation to protect each other. And I don't think they did the same for me'.

But it was Barbara's journalist style of reporting - dissecting all hardships under the antiseptic light of the cameras.

Star believed something else was going on as well when she got the boot --- 'She was no longer the token fat girl'. She was now competition.

Rosie had romantic feelings for Elisabeth Hasselbeck and believed 'there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.' Hasselbeck took issue with the idea that she'd had a crush on her co-star and said: 'I think what she said was reckless, untrue and not only insulting, disturbing, when it comes to how she felt about somebody in the workplace'

Rosie had romantic feelings for Elisabeth Hasselbeck and believed 'there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.' Hasselbeck took issue with the idea that she'd had a crush on her co-star and said: 'I think what she said was reckless, untrue and not only insulting, disturbing, when it comes to how she felt about somebody in the workplace'

MEREDITH VIERA

Co-host Meredith Vieira wasn't afraid of Barbara having worked with her at ABC and liked pushing her buttons by calling

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