Less than two weeks after Us Weekly reported that Jenny McCarthy was "in serious talks" to join The View as Joy Behar's replacement, Barbara Walters confirmed that the 40-year-old blonde has been hired as a new co-host during the July 15 episode the ABC talk show. McCarthy has appeared 17 times on The View (including eight as a guest co-host) and will officially begin appearing on the show when its 17th season premieres Monday, Sept. 9, at 11 a.m. EST.
"We are delighted that Jenny will be joining us as a permanent co-host on The View starting in September," said Walters, the only panelist who's been with the show since its 1997 debut. "Jenny 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 -- whose late-night chat fest, Vh1's The Jenny McCarthy Show, is on hiatus -- added, "I'm beyond thrilled to be joining Barbara and the other amazing women at the table. I'd like to thank ABC for this great opportunity. I'd also like to give a big thank you to Vh1 for their support and for allowing me to fulfill this lifelong dream. I look forward to helping make hot topics a little bit hotter, and showing my mom that my interrupting skills have finally paid off."
The best-selling author's hiring comes just four days after Elisabeth Hasselbeck made her final appearance on the program; news of her firing was first reported by Us in March. "I'm really happy and excited to confirm that, indeed, I will be joining the Fox & Friends team in September," the conservative mother of three said in a teary goodbye speech. "For a decade, I've been able to work efficiently at this table only because everyone behind the scenes as worked more efficiently."
Behar, 70, previously announced that she's leaving The View after 16 years when her contract expires in August. Previous co-hosts on the show include Debbie Matenopoulos (1997-1998), Meredith Vieira (1997-2006), Star Jones (1997-2006), Lisa Ling (1999-2002) and Rosie O'Donnell (2006-2007). Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg are also expected to return for Season 17.
Walters, 83, announced in May that she plans to retire in 2014. "I am very happy with my decision and look forward to a wonderful and special year ahead both on The View and with ABC News," the TV journalist told ABC News. "I created The View and am delighted it will last beyond my leaving it."
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Jenny McCarthy Joins The View as Permanent Co-Host, Replaces Joy Behar