Bill Wolff served as vice president of MSNBC's prime-time programming
He is expected to replace Bill Geddie, who started with the show
Reports say ABC and NBC engineered a "swap"
ABC’s reconstruction of “The View” involves not just new co-hosts like Rosie O’Donnell but a new producer, too, sources say: Bill Wolff.
Wolff, the executive producer of “The Rachel Maddow Show” and the vice president of MSNBC’s prime-time programming, will be running ABC’s reboot of “The View,” according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.
Wolff is expected to replace Bill Geddie, who has run the talk show since its inception in 1997.
A spokeswoman for “The View” did not respond to a request for comment. ABC has said the talk show “will be moving in an exciting new direction next season,” without sharing any details.
A spokeswoman for MSNBC confirmed Wolff’s departure. Before joining the cable news channel, he worked on ESPN programs like “Around the Horn” and “SportsCenter.” ESPN and ABC are both owned by The Walt Disney Co.
One of his reasons for rejoining Disney, according to one of the people with knowledge of the plan, is a personal one: He’ll be able to have dinner with his family every night. (“Maddow” ends at 10 p.m., but “The View” ends at noon.)
Sources spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because Wolff and ABC had not announced the producer changes, which were first reported by The New York Daily News.
According to the Daily News, ABC and NBC engineered a “swap” of sorts. In May, NBC announced that it had poached ESPN producer Jamie Horowitz for a new job overseeing the “Today” show, but because his ESPN contract hasn’t expired, Horowitz hasn’t been able to start yet.
“In return for NBC letting Wolff break his current long-term deal,” ABC has agreed to let Horowitz start work at NBC on September 1, “three months earlier than planned,” the newspaper reported.
A new season of “The View” will also start in September.
Changes at the talk show commenced in May, when one of its co-creators and its only remaining original co-host, Barbara Walters, stepped down. Geddie is the other co-creator, and speculation about his future has swirled all summer, especially in light of ABC’s comments that it planned to “evolve the show creatively.”
Along with Walters, two other co-hosts have stepped down – Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy – leaving Whoopi Goldberg as the only one set to return in the fall. Goldberg will be joined by Rosie O’Donnell and a number of other co-hosts who are still being auditioned.
After Thursday’s episode of “The View,” the producers conducted on-camera tests with nine of the women who are considered contenders for the remaining co-host chairs.
Among the women who participated in the tryouts – dubbed “chemistry tests” by ABC – were Sunny Hostin, SE Cupp and Ana Navarro, all three of whom are regulars on CNN. Hostin is a legal analyst, Cupp is a co-host of “Crossfire” and Navarro is a political contributor.
Wolff was in attendance at the tryouts, even though his new role hasn’t been announced.