‘Ladies Who Punch’ Author Reveals How Oprah Got in the Way of Gayle King Being on ‘The View’ (Exclusive)

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It's Vegas week on ET, and nobody loves a good fight more than the Sin City crowds! Today, we're taking a look at a few of TV's most infamous brawls, as Ladies Who Punch author Ramin Setoodeh details the behind-the-scenes feuds and fiery arguments at The View -- and takes special aim at big boss Barbara Walters.

"If she reads the book, I think she'll feel it's an honest portrait of what happened on the show," Setoodeh says of Walters, though a source recently told ET that the former View head honcho "will not pay attention" to the claims in Setoodeh's book. Walters' behavior comes under fire from several of her former co-hosts, including Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Jenny McCarthy, in the tell-all.

"Barbara has never been one to run from the truth," the author notes. "I fact-checked some things with her over email a few months ago. [And] when I talked to Babs in 2016, she was in good spirits. She was very aware her legacy was tied to The View."

That legacy may be slightly tarnished now, with the bombshell revelations from the likes of Hasselbeck, McCarthy and Star Jones. Setoodeh claims in the book that Walters was involved in leaking stories about Jones following her gastric bypass surgery and subsequent weight loss.

 

"She believed Babs and Joy [Behar] were leaking stories to prompt her exit," he alleges. "Barbara was involved in leaking stories about Star. She didn't want to have her hands dirty when it came to Star's firing, and so she wanted the public to know the truth about Star."

Another major revelation from the book is Setoodeh's claim that Gayle King almost was hired to replace Whoopi Goldberg, but Walters balked at the possible ramifications from King's friendship with Oprah Winfrey. 

"They were afraid of Gayle's association with Oprah, and didn't want Oprah to take over The View in the same way that Rosie [O'Donnell] had," the author explains. "They were worried that Oprah was going to offer producing notes, and use Gayle as a method to do that."

As for the Rosie of it all, Setoodeh claims that O'Donnell's departure from The View became a matter of health, claiming that her on-screen feud with Goldberg led to her taking anti-anxiety pills.

"She was having trouble keeping her stress level down," he adds. "Her doctor told her she needed to leave the show."

However, O'Donnell has since expressed her regret for participating in the book, lashing out at Setoodeh on social media. "She's always been candid and honest and open and raw," he says, "and I think I'll just leave it at that."

Some of The View's former stars did refuse to speak with Setoodeh for the book, however, including Goldberg and Hasselbeck.

"I'm not sure what happened," he says. "Whoopi, at the time she was going to talk to me she had plans to leave The View. When she decided to stay, she decided she didn't want to participate in the book. Elisabeth, I asked for three years and she never responded once."

ET is in Las Vegas all this week with exclusive reporting on the biggest stars from CinemaCon, an inside look at Las Vegas’ most iconic hotspots and exclusive content from the 2019 ACM Awards. Stay tuned, and check out the video below for more on Ladies Who Punch, which is in stores on April 2.

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