Amy Ryan
September 06, 2007 AT 07:30 PM EDT

At last, our long national nightmare is over. Less than a week after Whoopi Goldberg’s arrival as moderator on The View, Barbara Walters was set to introduce the long-awaited fifth panelist this coming Monday, but People has scooped her and revealed that the table-completer will be (drum roll…) Sherri Shepherd! Her first day will be Sept. 10. Star Jones, your ghost may now rest in peace, or at least on Court TV.

The announcement isn’t much of a surprise; Shepherd’s been rumored to be the first on the wish list since she started subbing as a guest panelist almost a year ago. Still, I’m glad Walters and ABC didn’t drag this out any longer, since it’s been more than a year since Jones’ acrimonious departure left a vacant seat at the Hot Topics table. Besides, I think Shepherd is a terrific choice; she’s smart, lively, and funny, and she’s just as likely to side with Elisabeth Hasselbeck as with Joy Behar or Whoopi. I still doubt, in terms of rubbernecker appeal (or love-to-hate-her appeal), that Whoopi + Sherri = Rosie, but absent another must-watch personality like O’Donnell, this is probably the best chemistry The View could ask for.

Tell us, PW-ers: does Shepherd’s arrival make you heave a sigh of relief? Does her presence make you more or less likely to watch The View?

addCredit(“Sherri Shepherd: Jordan Strauss/”)

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