Joy, joy, joy

June 13, 2009



I don’t know why this took so long, but I’m glad to see that Joy Behar is finally going to have her own TV talk show. It will be on at 9 p.m. weekdays on HLN, the network formerly known as Headline News.

I listened reguarly to Behar’s radio show on WABC in New York. I didn’t always agree with her – particularly on religious issues – but I was drawn in by the combination of wit, intelligence, and common sense and by her willingness to listen to other points of view. In fact, I called in to her show several times, and she always gave me enough time to say what was on my mind.



While she was still doing that radio show, I wrote a long profile of her. I remember the lead: “Joy Behar is a chiacchierone” – that being the Italian term for “chatterbox.” I spent about an hour with her at WABC, and I later talked by phone to the station manager, who told me Behar’s show was doing well and that he had just signed her to a new contract. It wasn’t long after that that she was fired, not a surprising turn of events in radio. She seemed too liberal and too outspoken in general for the management of that station, but she wound up working for the same parent company when she got her position as a co-host of “The View.”



It isn’t possible to judge Behar’s potential as a TV host based on “The View,” because guests aren’t given enough time on that show and the hosts often talk simultaneously. There was a better example of  her work recently when she substituted for Larry King and interviewed Ann Coulter. When Coulter appeared on “The View” the conversation deteriorated into babble as everyone tried to make her point at the same time in a contentious atmosphere. On the King show, however, Behar and Coulter were able to have a linear conversation in which – though they may be polar opposites in many ways – they showed each other mutual respect and the viewer got a chance to learn something from the dialogue.

At last, something  to look forward to in the bleak landscape of television.


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