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The View Seeks a Full-Time Fifth Wheel

The View is about to search in earnest to find a new, young co-host to replace Lisa Ling (search).

"We'll be trying people little-by-little over the summer, but the big push will be in the fall," says executive producer Bill Geddie, who created the daytime show with Barbara Walters (search).

"We really need someone here who knows how to do this day in and day out and bring in that younger audience," he says. "We originally thought it might pay off with celebrity co-hosts, but we realized we need someone here permanently."

The View reaped a huge publicity bonanza four years ago when it launched a public search for a new co-host -- trying out young wannabe TV personalities for months before deciding on Ling.

Ling left The View last December to join National Geographic.

Since then, the show has been using a rotating roster of celebrity co-hosts, and others, to sit in with Walters, Joy Behar (search), Star Jones (search) and Meredith Vieira (search).

"I honestly thought it was a nice break to fill in with celebrity co-hosts and people from all walks of life . . . but after a while we got tired of it," Geddie says.

"To be honest, we're always looking for another person to fill the hole -- sometimes they click, but usually they don't have that special chemistry.

"We're going to begin the process seriously [after Labor Day] and it will probably pay off during November sweeps."

Geddie says he's received over a thousand unsolicited tapes since Ling's departure. At the time, Walters told people not to send in tapes (but they sent them anyway).

So just what kind of candidates are Geddie and Walters looking for now that the search will kick into high gear?

"In the perfect world, she's late 20s, early 30s, would be married or engaged and would maybe have a baby or would want to have one," Geddie says.

"Perhaps someone from outside this area would be nice," he says.

"We're trying to cover a lot of bases. It's really about sitting with these women and fitting in, that special sort of magical quality you can't manufacture."