The rumors turned out to be true. On Monday, The View confirmed that Jenny McCarthy was headed to the Hot Topics table in the fall to replace one of the two outgoing hosts. Both Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are exiting the daytime talk show to pursue other projects.
While the news of McCarthy joining the show may excite some viewers, it’s causing quite an uproar in the medical community. It’s no secret that the 40-year-old has a son who suffers from autism. However, it’s her stance on vaccines causing her child’s autism that are sending people into a frenzy.
The former Singled Out host is a supporter of British doctor Andrew Wakefield who performed a study about the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causing autism in children. His study has been discredited by the medical community since it was based on fraudulent data.
Many doctors are worried that audiences will listen to a celebrity like McCarthy and refuse to get their children vaccinated. If kids do not get their required shots, there’s a worry that eradicated illnesses like polio or measles will return with a vengeance in the U.S.
From Barbara Walters’ perspective, the newswoman is looking for ratings and someone who will bring the buzz back to the tired talk show.
On yesterday’s show, Walters said, “We love her because she’s fun and uninhibited and opinionated enough to help us begin the latest chapter in The View history.”
The polarizing public figure has people talking. In fact, New Yorker magazine staff writer Michael Specter even went as far as criticizing ABC for McCarthy’s employment.
He said, “I think a network hiring a homicidal maniac, giving her a forum in front of people who have young children and are impressionable, is the most irresponsible thing I’ve heard of in a long time.”
The backlash has officially begun even though the former Playboy Playmate won’t be a regular until September.
A spokesperson for ABC told the Los Angeles Times, “We are celebrating the announcement of her joining the show. That is our focus today.”
It will be interesting to see if the momentum from the controversy carries over until the fall when McCarthy makes her full-time debut.
While her addition to the show may upset some, water-cooler talk is exactly what the network and Walters are looking for with a refreshed View.