"The View" is new.

Three new hosts, new set, new studio and potentially new vibe -- all in anticipation of a new day, where competition ("The Talk") is stifled, and all the old criticisms are laid to rest (too predictable... no longer the crackling newsmaker of years past... ).

"The View" returns Monday (11 a.m., ABC/7) for an 18th season -- the first without Barbara Walters -- shouldered by four women with strong opinions.


 

WHOOPI GOLDBERG

Goldberg, 58, joined the show Sept. 4 2007, replacing Rosie O'Donnell as moderator.

The show's lone holdover is very much expected to remain Whoopi in the new configuration -- the steady hand who calms roiling waters. The moderator-as-mediator role -- she said in online comments on ABC's press site last week -- will remain: "You can still be friends with people you don't agree with -- that's what friendship is," adding that this "is what 'The View' is, what it started as, and that's what it will evolve into from this moment forward."


 

ROSIE PEREZ

The first Latina host in the show's history, Perez, 50, is a writer, author, actor (movies and TV), dancer, choreographer and community activist. She grew up poor, went into foster care and was discovered by Spike Lee, who cast her in "Do the Right Thing."

"I'm very opinionated," she said last week. "I've been in a fight for us [the Latino community] for a very long time [and] it's only because I'm sticking up for myself -- I'm a Latina woman.

"We live in America and in America we are given the promise that if we work hard and buckle down, we have the right to the American dream, but that's not always the case."

But, she adds, "I wanna have fun -- that's where I'm starting from. If I put too many expectations of what the show will be for me, it will fall short."


 

NICOLLE WALLACE

Wallace, 42, is author of "Eighteen Acres," former White House communications director for President George W. Bush and longtime MSNBC contributor.

She's considered "The View's" new house conservative -- but that may be misleading. She has been critical of the GOP, and is a close friend of Katie Couric's, one of her mentors. Politics will be one of her interests here: "There are a lot of people who think Washington just sounds like white noise," she said, "and so if there is a political story to talk about one morning, we can sit back and let the story breathe a little bit and I'd love to hear what my co-hosts have to say, too."


 

ROSIE O'DONNELL

Yes, Rosie, 52, is the big name here. The show's pre-eminent lightning rod during her tenure, she feuded with co-hosts, and many others. "The View" also made more news during her year than at any other time. She recently told Variety that her year on the show was "was like 'The Hunger Games.' "

Last week, she said, "I was in the middle of a divorce -- it was a little bit stressful in my personal life and had become stressful in my professional life. The environment didn't gel with who I was. I didn't want to be paid to fight with another woman. I'm a feminist and encourage other women's success." Referring to her famous Elisabeth Hasselbeck contretemps, "I would never argue with a pregnant woman again. Now there are no pregnant women here."