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Sherri Shepherd To Join "The View"

Actress Sherri Shepherd will be introduced next week as a new cast member on "The View," giving the daytime chat show its first full cast since before Rosie O'Donnell left.

The show's creator, Barbara Walters, said Wednesday that she would reveal the new cast member Monday. That will be Shepherd, said a person close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Shepherd is no stranger to "The View." She was a guest host more than a dozen times, many of them this summer as she tried out for a cast slot left empty since Star Jones Reynolds left last summer.

The comedian should be a lively addition to the diverse women already on the show. A deeply religious person, she has said that she does not believe in evolution. On one episode where she co-hosted, Shepherd said: "I absolutely do not believe we came from primates."

Shepherd was also present for the show that ultimately lead to O'Donnell's early departure from "The View." In vain she tried to go to a commercial to end the argument between Hasselbeck and O'Donnell over the later's comments about the war in Iraq.

Shepherd appears in the upcoming film "Who's Your Caddy." Her lengthy resume includes roles on "Pauly Shore Is Dead" and "The Jamie Foxx Show." She even played God once on the CBS show "Joan of Arcadia," although it's doubtful her new colleagues will give her the same voice of authority.

Published reports had Walters set to appoint Shepherd in late July, around the time Whoopi Goldberg was selected as the show's new moderator. But the announcement was delayed, perhaps a sign that hardball negotiations were taking place.

Meanwhile, preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings found that 3.4 million people watched Goldberg's debut on Tuesday. That's 1 million shy of O'Donnell's audience for her first show last September. O'Donnell's stormy tenure on "The View" lasted less than a year.

Goldberg created headlines of her own her first day by defending NFL star Michael Vick in his dogfighting case. Goldberg said that where Vick came from in the South, dogfighting isn't unusual.

On her "Wake Up With Whoopi" radio show heard on New York's WKTU-FM on Wednesday, Goldberg said she wanted to make clear she didn't condone Vick's actions. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback admitted he provided money for a dogfighting ring that operated on his property and helped kill six to eight pit bulls.

"I do not think what Michael Vick was smart," she said. "I am thrilled that the cops took care of it.'

Meanwhile, the show's former moderator O'Donnell weighed in on Goldberg's debut on her Web site.

"Whoopi was good," she said, although she remarked that she didn't think it was a good idea that "The View's" set got a makeover and was not mostly beige.

"Maybe people like beige and I'm the only one who doesn't," she said.

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