Our long national nightmare is nearly over: After nearly a year, ABC is close to announcing a replacement for Lisa Ling on ''The View.'' The daytime chat panel has been without a permanent resident of the Gen X chair vacated last December by Ling and before that by Debbie Matenopoulos, but Viewmistress Barbara Walters announced on Monday's show that producers have narrowed down the search to three finalists.
Drumroll please: The finalists are Rachel Campos, best known for her stint on ''The Real World'''s San Francisco season; ''Survivor: The Australian Outback'' survivor Elisabeth Hasselback, currently the host of the Style Channel's ''The Look for Less''; and Erin Hershey Presley, who starred on ABC's now-canceled soap ''Port Charles.''
After Ling left to become the host of MSNBC's ''National Geographic Explorer,'' the remaining ''View'' panelists -- Walters, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, and Joy Behar -- filled her chair with a rotating list of guest hosts (Mariah Carey, Whoopi Goldberg) as well as auditioners like Campos, Hasselbeck, Presley, Associated Press entertainment reporter Christy Lemire, and ''The Next Joe Millionaire" host Samantha Harris.
Starting this week, each of the finalists will get a weeklong callback, with Walters announcing the winner on Nov. 24. Campos started the host-off by breaking some big news: She's pregnant with her third child by her husband, fellow ''Real World'' alum Sean Duffy, of the Boston season.