Meredith Vieira is heading to daytime this fall, but even if she wasn't, she wouldn't have any interest in returning to her old stomping grounds on ABC's "The View."
"I knew after nine years that it was my time to leave 'The View,'" Meredith said on Monday when a reporter asked at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour in Beverly Hills if she'd go back (if she didn't already have a new gig), amid the show's current host shakeup.
"I have a pretty good sense of timing that I always like to get out before something bad happens and having gone back several times and being greeted very lovingly each time with the viewer of today, you realize you can't really can't go home again," Meredith continued. "I'm sort of the aunt, the crazy aunt who took off. … I'd love to go [on 'The View'] as a guest. And I love those ladies, certainly Whoopi [Goldberg] and Rosie [O'Donnell] and whoever else they get, and I wish them the best."
In recent years, a number of talk shows have been canceled, and when asked if she's learned anything about what works in daytime as she heads into hosting her own show, Meredith said she believes viewers want an authentic experience.
"I use that word 'authenticity' and I think that's the key word with an audience. I think that they can smell a fake a mile away, not that the shows that have failed are because the people who front them are phony, but I think that they want real and they want to connect with somebody and the shows that I have done in the past, particularly 'The View' and 'Today,' what struck me the most is how significant daytime television is to the viewers. They connect with it in such a personal way," Meredith said. "When I have folks come up to me, it's never like, 'Oh Meredith Vieira.' It's almost I'm their mother, some say you remind me of my grandmother, which I don't love, my aunt, my sister, my best friend, and they feel that kind of connective tissue that they don't maybe have at other times of the day or shows and I think if you're able to really reach audience and connect and give them a voice and a reason to watch, then hopefully you'll be a success."
As many fans of Meredith know, her husband Richard Cohen has MS, and while she has stepped out of the spotlight before to spend more time with him, Meredith told reporters he encouraged her to get back on TV.
"He was one of the first to say, 'Go back,'" she said.
She also addressed her husband's recent health scare earlier this year, when a blood clot in his leg traveled close to his heart, threatening his life.
"He is a tough cookie and he is rebounding, but it's hard because when you have autoimmune illnesses, anything can kick in symptoms, so he's having a little more difficulty walking these days, but I just saw Sanjay Gupta had a documentary about weed -- marijuana – and what's being done to help people with MS and I think Richard would love the thought of smoking grass so I'm sure we'll be doing that soon," she said, adding quickly, "I'll be drinking."
-- Jolie Lash