This just in: Jenny McCarthy will join The View as a co-host when the show returns for its 17th season on ABC Sept. 9.
Jenny — who recently made headlines for her budding romance with New Kids on the Block crooner Donnie Wahlberg — will replace comedienne Joy Behar, one of three Viewster bidding au revoir to the AM gabfest. The announcement comes just days after The View’s lone conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck left the series for a new gig with the right-leaning Fox News Channel.
The former Playboy Playmate and autism activist made the announcement on her Chicago Sun-Times blog Monday, writing:
“YUP, I’M DOING THE VIEW! When word got out that Joy [Behar] was leaving The View, I knew that the timing of my desire and her departure might be serendipitous for me.”
View creator Barbara Walters, who announced her departure from the show in May, released a statement welcoming the ballsy blonde to the roundtable:
“We are delighted that Jenny will be joining us as a permanent co-host. She brings us intelligence as well as warmth and humor. She can be serious and outrageous. She has connected with our audience and offers a fresh point of view. Jenny will be a great addition to the show as we usher in an exciting new chapter for The View.”
McCarthy’s young son Evan is autistic. After his diagnosis, the single mom embraced the controversial claim linking childhood vaccinations to autism — drawing the ire of immunization advocacy groups, like Every Child By Two. Amy Pisani is the executive director of the organization and she isn’t exactly embracing McCarthy new gig.
In fact, Pisani penned a letter to View producers blasting the appointment:
“Her unfounded claims that vaccines cause autism have been one of the greatest impediments to public health in recent decades. These false assertions, in addition to her condemnation of public health officials and the medical community overall, has spread fear among young parents, which has lead to an increased number of children who have not received life-saving vaccines.”