Michael Slezak
January 04, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EST

The blogosphere (specifically, Ellegedly, Jossip, and Canada.com) is abuzz with the rumor that former Less Than Perfect star Sherri Shepherd has bagged herself a permanent slot as The View‘s fifth resident yackmeister. (She’s been guest-hosting all this week; here she is, pictured at left, on today’s edition, along with Barbara Walters, guest Michael Urie of Ugly Betty, Joy Behar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.) And while PopWatch is still awaiting a return call from ABC to confirm the news, I’ve got my hip flask out on the desk, ready to heartily toast what I think is a brilliant move by the show’s producers.

If you don’t understand or share my enthusiasm, then click here and check out this four-minute clip of Shepherd’s substitute-hosting appearance on the show’s Nov. 21 “Claygate” episode; note she’s the only cohost who doesn’t get steamrolled by Hurricane Rosie, and better still, that she manages to defuse Rosie’s off-base accusation of Kelly Ripa’s “homophobia” by boldly placing her hand on O’Donnell’s breast. In other words, she’s not afraid of ruffling the alpha bird’s feathers, and she’s capable of scoring a laugh while she does it.

Of course, even if you’re not on Team Shepherd, there’s still reason to cheer. As my colleague Alynda Wheat notes, “Really, the only saving grace is that Hasselbeck will never get another word in.” So what say you, PopWatchers? Is Shepherd the right woman for the job? Quick, weigh in now before Barbara comes out of her hyperbaric oxygen chamber and inks the deal!

UPDATE: Sorry to disappoint, folks, but a source close to the show tells PopWatch that the rumors calling Shepherd’s signing a done deal are “complete hogwash,” and that we’ll be seeing a number of subs in the Star Jones seat before a final decision is made. Still, they should totally hire her, right?addCredit(“The View: Heidi Gutman”)

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