ABC News has invited Monica Lewinsky to The View as a guest, to talk about her “anti-bullying campaign,” naturally leading to speculation she might replace Rosie O’Donnell as one of the show panelists, or at least that show creator Barbara Walters is trying to talk ABC News brass into the merits of the hire.
Lewinsky would pose certain challenges, given that The View these days is produced by ABC News which presumably would want access to expected Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the next election cycle. Lewinsky on staff might make that tougher.
At the very least, assume ABC News will look closely at the stats when Lewinsky pays a call to The View. Timing is uncertain; original hopes of having her stop by to coincide with her last month’s TED talk did not pan out and no new date has been set, insiders say.
Once upon a time – 16 years ago last month – about 49 million of us decided we hadn’t had enough of Lewinsky and her blue dress, and so sat down to spend two hours watching Walters interview her on 20/20, making that broadcast the most-watched news program ever aired by a single network, at the time.
The Oscar-size audience heard her tell Walters she’d have to pray to keep from having a third affair with a married man (President Clinton was No. 2). That Lewinsky interview also had created one of the most creative ad lineups in the history of TV news, including a Maytag spot that included the ditty “Stain! I’m gonna live forever” ads for MasterCard (“Being happy with who you are — priceless”), Pier 1 (“Let your love fly, like a bird on the wing”), Omnet (“Be careful what you wish for”) and Burger King (“Stop crying — start eating”) – and an ABC promo that started, “When she was only 20 she seduced the most powerful man in the world” and turned out to be a plug for its May miniseries, Cleopatra.
Meanwhile, The View averaged 2.775 million total viewers during the week of March 16, including 596,000 women 25-54 and 474,000 women 18-49, based on Live+Same Day data from Nielsen. The show out-delivered CBS’ The Talk (2.571 million, 537,000 and 383,000, respectively) that week, in all three metrics.
After lying largely dormant for years, Lewinsky re-emerged last summer when National Geographic Channel announced she would be among the people who’d had “unanticipated brushes with fame” in the ’90s and would participate in the network’s documentary The 90’s: The Last Great Decade? Lewinsky’s brush involved having an affair with POTUS, spilling the beans, saving the dress, and being stunned by the reax in Washington and in the media. Lewinsky became known, in media circles, as a victim who “stalks her past, yanking us back to when she flashed her black thong,” as Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times back in 2002, after Lewinsky successfully pitched to HBO a documentary about herself, for which she reportedly was paid $150,000. NatGeo was happy to play along with Lewinsky’s carefully crafted bully-victim storyline, calling her 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.”
Around the time of NatGeo’s announcement, Lewinsky also had penned a piece about her victimhood — regrets the affair, dreads a Hillary Clinton run in 2016 because the paparazzi are sure to stalk her, etc. — for Vanity Fair.