Books

REVIEW | 'Ladies Who Punch'

Tell-all book dishes dirt on 'The View'

“Ladies Who Punch” by Ramin Setoodeh (St. Martin’s Press)
“Ladies Who Punch” by Ramin Setoodeh (St. Martin’s Press)

No actual fists are thrown in “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View,’” but this behind-the-scenes takedown of the daytime juggernaut is determined to prove that heated words pack a wallop.

Author Ramin Setoodeh, a veteran entertainment reporter and editor, gives Barbara Walters props for creating a multigenerational platform for women, but quickly glosses over that accomplishment, painting the legendary broadcaster as a terrorizing, hopelessly out-of-touch egomaniac who never got over not casting herself as the show’s moderator.

Walters gets off easy.

Star Jones comes across as an attention-seeking monster who used the program to finance her shopping addiction. “Saturday Night Live” was right on target in portraying Debbie Matenopoulos as an airhead. Rosie O’Donnell is a control freak madly in love with Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Network executives are so clueless, they couldn’t manage a game of Red Rover.

Setoodeh’s decades of covering the program pays off with the kind of details you normally don’t get from the hush-hush world of show business. But his obsession with deep-dish gossip overshadows any attempt to analyze what has made the show so popular and influential.

O’Donnell recently said agreeing to be interviewed for the tell-all book is her biggest regret. That’s something her colleagues who also participated could probably agree on.

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