'The View' Reportedly Aims to Bring Back Original Co-Host to Replace Meghan McCain

Debbie Matenopoulos, who was just 21 when she was cast as an original co-host on The View in 1997, is reportedly being considered as a replacement for Meghan McCain. Matenopoulos' spokesperson confirmed there have been "conversations" between her representatives and ABC News, but nothing is set in stone. Next season will mark The View's 25th anniversary.

"Debbie will always have a fond place in her heart for The View, the show that launched her career as a 21-year-old straight out of NYU," a spokesperson for Matenopoulos, now 46, told Entertainment Tonight on Friday. "Her rep has, in fact, been having conversations with senior executives at ABC News over the past few months about many things, including her participation in celebrating the 25th season of The View, and she appreciates all the interest in her returning." The spokesperson added that Matenopoulos is working on two food shows and a lifestyle program, but "she'd never say never to returning to her first television home."

The comment from Matenopoulos' spokesperson came after a source told The Daily Mail ABC News was interested in bringing her back for a "triumphant return." The ABC News insider called Matenopoulos the "perfect fit" for the show's big anniversary season. "Debbie's recent guest co-hosting of The Talk has not gone unnoticed at ABC and it would make sense to scoop her up," the source said, referring to her recent appearances on CBS' competing talk show.

Matenopoulos was among the first hosts on The View, alongside Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar, and series creator Barbara Walters. She was also the first host to leave when ABC News declined to renew her contract after the end of the 1998-1999 season. She was replaced by Lisa Ling, who stayed on the show through 2002. Since leaving The View, Matenopoulos has appeared on dozens of talk shows, including the long-running Home & Family. She has also published several books, including the bestselling cookbook It's All Greek to Me. Matenopoulos has also been invited back to The View several times, most recently in 2016.

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McCain surprisingly announced last week that she plans to leave The View at the end of the current season, despite reportedly having two years left on her contract. She plans to continue living in Washington D.C. with her husband, The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech, and their daughter, Liberty. "This was not an easy decision," McCain said when announcing her departure on July 1. "It took a lot of thought and counsel and prayer, and talking to my family and my close friends, and, you know, look — COVID has changed the world for all of us and it changed the way, at least for me, the way I am looking at life, the way I'm living my life, the way I want my life to look like." The remaining hosts of The View are Behar, Sunny Hostin, Ana Navarro, Sara Haines, and Whoopi Goldberg.