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Rosie Perez Settles In As The First Latina Co-Host On 'The View'
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Rosie Perez Settles In As The First Latina Co-Host On 'The View'

Television

Rosie Perez Settles In As The First Latina Co-Host On 'The View'

Rosie Perez Settles In As The First Latina Co-Host On 'The View'
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One month into the job on ABC's The View, Rosie Perez talks about how things are going so far. She says one of the only things about the job that's not fun is the expectations of some critics.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This week, Rosie Perez celebrates one full month in a job she never expected to hold in the first place, co-host on ABC's revamped version of "The View." She told NPR TV critic Eric Deggans what's fun about the job and what's not.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: There was a time when people turned on "The View" just to watch the fights.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE VIEW")

O'DONNELL: OK, did Iraq attack us, Elisabeth?

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Iraq did not attack us, Rosie...

O'DONNELL: Correct.

HASSELBECK: We've been there before. I'm saying our enemies, al-Qaida - are you hearing that?

O'DONNELL: I hear it, but where do you want to go?

DEGGANS: But ask new co-host Rosie Perez about tabloid reports of conflict between stars Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg, and she pushes back.

ROSIE PEREZ: It's a little sexist - sorry - because when men may have a disagreement or have whatever, I don't think the same response would have occurred. If everyone's expecting us to have a catfight, it's beyond insulting.

DEGGANS: Perez says the latest version of "The View" features four women who can go from serious to silly in an instant while still respecting each other - like this moment, when Perez asked co-host and former GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace about the first time she met Sarah Palin.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE VIEW")

PEREZ: Can I ask three specific questions?

NICOLLE WALLACE: Yes. (Laughter).

PEREZ: OK. One, what was it like when you first met her? Two, did the winking get on your nerves?

(LAUGHTER)

PEREZ: And three, when did you want to just pop her?

WALLACE: OK. (Laughter).

(APPLAUSE)

PEREZ: This is what I mean about sexism. You have somebody like a wonderful man that I admire, Jon Stewart. He talks about the news in a very, very cheeky way. When women do it, are we being silly? Yes. Is Jon Stewart being silly? Yes. What's the difference?

DEGGANS: Perez joins "The View" this season as part of an extensive revamp that's toned down the conflict. Nicolle Wallace is a conservative with a less combative style, for instance, joining longtime co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O'Donnell, who had quit the show in 2007. Perez is also the first Latina permanent co-host in the show's 17-year history, a revelation that even surprised her.

PEREZ: It didn't even dawn on me that I was the first, and that says a lot too. Sometimes, we're so preconditioned to not seeing ourselves that you go, oh, yeah, oh, my goodness.

DEGGANS: Now Perez regularly brings Latin culture to "The View," schooling her co-hosts.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE VIEW")

PEREZ: Salsa music used to be one thing, you know, with these great groups like Conjunto Clasico...

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Right.

PEREZ: And in Fania All-Stars there's these young, wonderful Latin...

DEGGANS: Those kind of conversations didn't happen often when Perez was starting out. Her career took off in 1988, when director Spike Lee gave the ex-Soul Train dancer her first major acting job. She played his girlfriend in the classic film, "Do The Right Thing."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DO THE RIGHT THING")

SPIKE LEE: (As Mookie) Trust me.

PEREZ: (As Tina) Trust you? Mookie, the last time I trusted you, we ended up with a son - remember your son?

PEREZ: When I started in the entertainment industry, the wounds of the racism that Latins had to endure - or all ethnicities had to endure - were so open and wide. And I'm like, what do you mean you have an issue with my accent? Do you have an issue with Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent?

DEGGANS: Since those early days, she's earned an Oscar nomination, acted on Broadway, written a revealing memoir and spoken out about AIDS awareness. And when it comes to those who still see her as that young spitfire character...

PEREZ: That kind of perception is old and tired. And I let that go in the early '90s. It's not my issue; it's everyone else's issue.

DEGGANS: That's the kind of attitude that just might help Perez and "The View" surprise a lot of viewers. I'm Eric Deggans.

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