If you were beginning to think a certain famously victimized former White House intern was everywhere, guess what? You were right. Newly resplendent Monica Lewinsky is slated to appear on ABC’s The View, it was announced Wednesday, and speculations abound that show creator Barbara Walters is pushing for Lewinsky to be hired. The View has been struggling in the ratings-stakes as of late, and Walters thinks Lewinsky could be the “runaway success” the show needs, according to the Daily Mail.
All of which is pretty great if you’re a woman who only recently emerged from self-imposed silence after a vicious period of public humiliation and speculation. And in her reincarnation, she takes on the haters: equipped with a social psychology master’s degree, Lewinsky — formerly best known as the woman Bill Clinton “did not have sexual relations” with — has been engaged in an anti-cyberbullying campaign.
The issue hits close to home. Last October, The New York Times reported, Lewinsky told a Forbes conference that in the Clinton affair fall-out, “I lost my reputation. I was publicly identified as someone I didn’t recognize. And I lost my sense of self.” She went on to give a TED talk entitled “The Price of Shame.” It is this anti-bullying activism that Lewinsky is ostensibly going to talk about on The View. The date for her appearance has not yet been set.
According to Deadline, the invitation has got people wondering whether Lewinsky has been cherry-picked to replace panelist Rosie O’Donnell. The publication highlights the potential awkwardness of the hire, given that in the upcoming election campaign bonanza, Hillary Rodham Clinton will no doubt be covered heavily by ABC News. With Lewinsky on board, neither Clinton would be keen to show up as a guest, one suspects.
But it’s not wildly odd to predict that the show’s viewer ratings might skyrocket in the light of a Lewinsky visit. Sixteen years ago, as Deadline points out, 49 million people tuned in to watch Barbara Walters interview Lewinsky on 20/20. That broadcast became the most-watched news program to have ever been aired by a single network.
In March, the Times reported that Lewinsky was finding it difficult to get work. Now, the speculation that Walters is gunning for Lewinsky’s hire comes courtesy of an unnamed “network source” who spoke to the Daily Mail. Bustle has reached out to Barbara Walters' rep for comment, but has not yet received a response. The source reportedly told the Mail Online:
Barbara believes that Monica could make ‘The View’ competitive and compelling, and while a lot of Washington’s elite may scratch the show off its must-visit press list, the younger demographic of online users would tune in daily to see what she had to say.
According to “insiders,” Walters (who sold rights to The View back to ABC in 2013) had supposedly reached out to ABC News’s president James Goldston, as well as Ben Sherwood — president of Disney-ABC Television Group.
Mail Online asserted that “Barbara has been like a godmother to Monica ever since their infamous interview in 1999 following the Bill Clinton scandal.” Walters, a source reputedly said, “always believed Monica got the short end of the stick in the court of public opinion and has tirelessly defended her on the show over the years.”
The View’s ratings have been dismal since original panelists Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck left the morning show. Nicolle Wallace and Rosie Perez have since filled their spots. Rosie O’Donnell was let go in February, leaving a chair open — potentially for Lewinsky to fill. Mail Online reported other (eclectic!) candidates for the post include: Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Stacy London (fashion host from What Not To Wear) and Raven-Symoné (a woman who apparently does everything, but began it all as a child star).
Whether or not Lewinsky gets the job, she seems to have plenty of other things to keep her busy. She’s a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and has written for the publication. She’s given a flurry of public speeches and appearances since she emerged from the woodwork half a year ago, and does not seem to be slowing down.
The woman described by National Geographic as the “White House intern whose relationship with Bill Clinton led to her becoming a legal target in an investigation and a media target like the world had never seen before,” is turning out to be fairly savvy at transforming that public humiliation into a career — with or without a leg-up from Barbara Walters.
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