Confirming the casting news that has been circulating all week, Barbara Walters announced that Whoopi Goldberg will be joining The View permanently.
“This is a big day for us. A happy day for us,” Walters, 77, said on the ABC show Wednesday.
Goldberg, 51, is scheduled to start the day after Labor Day. For her part, the performer said the new job as the show’s moderator is “a thrill” – and she promised to dress better.
“Ever watch The View?” Walters jokingly asked Goldberg as she sat down at the table and was presented with her own coffee mug.
“Once or twice,” Goldberg cracked. “You look familiar.”
No mention was made of comedian Sherri Shepherd, 40, whose name had circulated as the other likely contender to join the show in the fall. The published reports about Shepherd were not even addressed. (A source told PEOPLE that money was an issue with her potential hiring, but a rep for Shepherd says “talks are ongoing.”)
Elisabeth Hasslebeck, 30, asked what Goldberg thought of celebrity feuds, since the show has had its share recently. The new cohost told her and the other cohost, Joy Behar, 64, that she’s too mellow to get involved with such things – though Walters said she should remain edgy.
Goldberg also said she is most excited about the “Hot Topics” portion of the program. “The thing I’m looking forward to the least is getting in between everyone talking at one time.”
Goldberg will occupy the chair vacated by O’Donnell, 45, and, before that, by Meredith Vieira, 53, who left The View in May 2006 to take up co-hosting NBC’s Today show.
As anticipation built as to who would slip into The View‘s cohost seat, Hasselbeck, who is due to go on maternity leave when she has her second child in November, told PEOPLE of Goldberg: “She is soulful, has a world of experience to bring to the table, and I don’t sense any sort of political agenda.” (The conservative Hasselbeck and the liberal O’Donnell often clashed, with memorable and, ultimately, permanent results.)
Besides Goldberg (and Shepherd), other serious contenders for the show were comedians Kathy Griffin, 46, and Joan Rivers, 74, who co-hosted Tuesday’s show – and wise-cracked that she was working right before the show was going to turn around and hire somebody else.