'The View' kicks off season 20 with new co-host Sara Haines

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the latest details.

"The View" kicked off its 20th season Tuesday, with the panel welcoming a familiar face to the desk full-time.

Sara Haines made her debut as co-host, finding her groove while sitting next to "Good Morning America" colleague Paula Farris.

"My heart started racing, and I thought I might cry," she said. "I felt my eyes fill up a little bit, and the smile I get when I get too big, is my eyes close. So I couldn't see anything, and I was walking around the corner, and I though, just don't cry right now. Just let it be."

She is tomorrow's star here today, but you wouldn't know it to talk to Haines. The new mom is so kind and down-to-earth, and as one of the other co-stars put it, she is "a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day."

"Sara is authentic," Farris said. "She's genuine. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She brings so much energy and positivity to this show."

A new theme song speaks to what executive producer Candi Carter wants to accomplish.

"We brought Mary J. Blige in to give us a little bit of that hip factor," she said. "We're 20 years old, we're 20 years young. And that's what hopefully people are feeling at home."

The start of the 20th season was celebrated by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray.

"We've got eight and a half million New Yorkers who want to salute 'The View,'" he said.

His proclamation wasn't even the emotional high point, which came when Tracy Morgan took the stage two years after the accident that almost killed him.

"I let go and let God," he said. "Just did my thing."

They are looking forward, but with a nod toward the show's past. And the woman who started it all was not forgotten.

"On behalf of Barbara Walters, the cast and crew who has kept this show going, I want to say thank you," Whoopi Goldberg said.

De Blasio proclaimed Tuesday "The View Day" in New York City, not bad for a show that original co-host Joy Behar admitted wasn't expected to last past season one. She even confessed she was thinking about looking for other work during that first season, but all involved prevailed.

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