ABC's daytime chat show "The View," which has failed to catch fire following an overhaul this fall, is switching to the network's news side after being part of ABC's entertainment operation for 18 years.
ABC News President James Goldston last week assigned Tom Cibrowski, the producer responsible for the "Good Morning America" rise to the top of the ratings, and colleagues Barbara Fedida and David Sloan to work on "The View."
Following the retirement of Barbara Walters from an on-air role at the show she started, ABC brought in Rosie O'Donnell, Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez to join holdover Whoopi Goldberg. A new production team was named, led by Bill Wolff, Rachel Maddow's former producer.
The new "View" got off to a fast start, but ratings have flattened, said Bill Carroll, an expert on the syndication market for Katz Media.
By Oct. 24, "The View" had averaged 2.9 million viewers, similar to the 2.92 million average during the same period last year, the Nielsen company said. There's a sharper drop (712,000 to 652,000) among viewers aged 18-to-49 years old, a group prized by advertisers.
It may have something to do with a new group trying to gel or a slow news period, but the show "doesn't have the same energy, the same spark," Carroll said.
The move was not made in response to ratings concerns, said Julie Townsend, ABC News spokeswoman. Goldston, in fact, offered advice to the new "View" team this summer and was in the audience for the season opener on Sept. 15.
It makes logistical sense, in that the head of daytime TV for ABC entertainment, Lisa Hackner, is based in California. "The View" airs from a Manhattan studio next door to ABC News headquarters.
ABC News is also boosting Lincoln Square Productions, its division that makes nonfiction programming. That division produced the summer series "NY Med" and a recent documentary on Ebola that Dr. Richard Besser made for Discovery.
Such programming has "broadened our perspective on how we better explain the world to our audience and draw new viewers to ABC News," Goldston wrote in a memo to ABC staff members.
A chief competitor to "The View," CBS' "The Talk" has seen its ratings dip slightly from 2.67 million to 2.6 million, Nielsen said.
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