Comic Sherri Shepherd has been chosen to fill Star Jones Reynolds' long-vacant fifth seat on The View. Although the official announcement will have to wait until Sept. 10, the deal was made back in August, TV Guide has learned exclusively.

The View producers were hoping to stay mum about Shepherd's status for a couple of weeks to keep the hoopla focused on Whoopi Goldberg's signing on as moderator. But an anonymous source leaked the news early.

Shepherd, who has guest-hosted on the ABC chatfest over a dozen times, campaigned hard for the job. "I've been telling them I'm available," she told TV Guide in June. "If you want me, I'm available." Apparently, what Sherri wants, Sherri gets. - Reporting by Ileane Rudolph