TVGuide.com: You were always a front-runner. Were you surprised at all that you got the Star Jones seat?
Sherri Shepherd: Yeah. I thought they would ask me to rotate with Kathy Griffin, but they said, "No, we want you to do it full-time."
TVGuide.com: The deal making took months and even halted for a while. What was the problem?
Shepherd: I was giving up a lot. I had to move to New York with my son, who has special needs. When you do sitcoms and movies, it pays a little bit more than doing a talk show. You know what the rents are like here in New York! That was a rude awakening. I was like, "Oh, we gotta go back to the table!"
TVGuide.com: Is it true you asked for $2 million a year?
Shepherd: If you ask for something too low and they go, "Yeah," then you sit here in New York paying a big old rent and you get evicted going, "Damn it! I'm doing The View and I'm homeless."
TVGuide.com: Somehow I don't see that. But you're saying you did throw out the $2 million figure?
Shepherd: Yeah! And there's nothing wrong with that. We came to a very, very happy medium.
TVGuide.com: Did Rosie or Star reach out to you?
Shepherd: Totally. Star was so supportive, and when I was wavering, Rosie said, "You gotta be able to tell your son you tried to do this."
TVGuide.com: Griffin really wanted the job. Still friends?
Shepherd: Actually, Kathy called and said, "Sistah, if they call you, you'd better take that job." And I said, "Oh my gosh, I don't know." And she said, "I'm going to kill you if you don't."
TVGuide.com: You've done a lot of series and movie roles. Did you worry about giving that up?
Shepherd: Yeah, that was really hard. I'm an actress and that's what I want to do. But I just filmed two episodes of 30 Rock, playing Tracy Jordan's wife, Angie. They're airing Oct. 11 and 18.
TVGuide.com: What's up with Angie?
Shepherd: She wears the pants in the family. Tracy likes to go and party and I keep him in line. In one episode, Angie comes to whoop ass on the set and I get to smack Tina in the face.
TVGuide.com: You know that's not the only series shot here in New York.
Shepherd: Believe you me, I'm going to find them all! I'll go on every set telling them, "I'm on The View and I'm done at noon!" And if Fantasia needs a break on Broadway in The Color Purple, I'll do Celie — the karaoke version.
TVGuide.com: You want to do some stand-up here as well?
Shepherd: Sure am. Wanda Sykes filled me in on the New York clubs. This is a really good time for me to work on my one-woman show. It'll be about what I've gone through. A lot of people think they know me, but there's a lot of stuff I haven't talked about before. I think it will inspire some young girls.
TVGuide.com: Everybody knows about your cheating husband, but have you had other tough times?
Shepherd: Sure. I've been evicted. I've been in jail, my car was repo'ed, I've dealt with losing my mother.
TVGuide.com: How are you different from your new colleagues?
Shepherd: I'm just a real woman going through stuff in my life. I was a legal secretary who stumbled into this career and then struggled as a stand-up for a long time. I told Barbara that I was broke when I got married, and she said, "But you were in movies." I had bit parts, but I was dirt poor. I was not Jennifer Aniston.
TVGuide.com: Where are you on the show's political spectrum?
Shepherd: I'm a Christian but that doesn't mean I'm going to vote Republican. I'm all about morals, but don't be talking about morals and then put your feet underneath somebody else's stall! This is very cool for me, because when I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, we were encouraged not to be involved in politics. So I'm having a lot of fun researching the candidates. I'm OK sitting at the table and going, "I don't know what you guys are talkin' about."
TVGuide.com: Whoopi knows about politics, so she can help clue you in, but she says she's clueless about the pop-culture stuff. Are you helping her out?
Shepherd: We were talking about Perez Hilton one day and Whoopi is like, "Who is that Perez Hilton?" I said, "Whoopi, sit down, girl. We have got to talk."
TVGuide.com: Who do you most want to meet on the show?
Shepherd: Oprah, of course. I was on her show many years ago, back when it was like The Jerry Springer Show. I was on there snapping my fingers and hollering and screaming. When I meet Oprah, that is not what I will remind her of. Don't want it in her head that I was one of her ghetto guests.
TVGuide.com: Do you consider yourself a single woman now?
Shepherd: Not quite. We're still kind of trying to work on the marriage. He might have a different viewpoint than me.
TVGuide.com: So you're not jumping into the man pool?
Shepherd: Oh, please! It's hard enough trying to hang on to this marriage, and now I'm going to date another guy who's insecure because I make more money than him?
TVGuide.com: Where's Jeff, your sort-of husband, now?
Shepherd: He's in California.
TVGuide.com: Isn't that kind of long distance hard for working on your marriage?
Shepherd: Hey, can you say a prayer for me?
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