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NEW YORK - Whoopi Goldberg is so excited about her gig as moderator on “The View,” she says she’s ready to start now.


Her official debut isn’t until September, so the comedian will have plenty of time to brush up on her celebrity gossip, which is often a focus of the hot-topics segments she will now oversee.


“I don’t know about Britney and I don’t know about Lindsay or Pookie or whoever,” Goldberg said Wednesday.


She’ll be filling the slot Rosie O’Donnell vacated in May. But Goldberg - who, like O’Donnell, is known for her outspoken manner - says audiences shouldn’t expect her to be Rosie 2.0.


“I’m not Rosie,” she said. “I’m not Star (Jones). I’m not Elisabeth (Hasselbeck). I’m not Joy (Behar). I’m Whoopi.”


Goldberg said she won’t shy away from expressing her politics (something that cost her a SlimFast campaign in 2004, after some double entendres about President Bush at a Democratic fund-raiser), but viewers might be surprised to learn she won’t always disagree with the conservative Hasselbeck.


“We have our differences of opinion,” said Goldberg. “But there will be many days when she and I are on the same page.”


Boss Barbara Walters says she’s “thrilled” to have Goldberg aboard.


“There were other people that were very good, but there aren’t a lot of great choices,” Walters told the New York Daily News. “(Whoopi’s) brilliant, she’s funny, and she can be edgy, and she’s a professional. All the things that we needed.”


Goldberg even garnered endorsements from two former “View”-ers.


O’Donnell said in a statement Wednesday that “Whoopi is fantastic in every way. She’s perfect for the job. She’s amazing and one of my favorites.”


And Jones, who’s landed her own show on Court TV, said through her rep, “Whoopi is a smart women with an opinion ... and an excellent choice. She brings life experience outside of the entertainment business, and diversity with intelligence.”


“The View” actually had two vacant chairs it hoped to fill, and rumors had the second position going to actress Sherri Shepherd. However, In Touch reported Wednesday that the negotiations broke down over money.


“They weren’t willing to pay Sherri what she was asking for,” an insider told the mag.


But Walters said she’s “not sure what that’s all about.”


“I do hope to add somebody else to the cast,” she said. “I don’t know when it will be. It won’t be this summer. But it would be nice to have another permanent member, because I don’t want to be on five days a week.


“I think Sherri Shepherd is wonderful,” added Walters. “She’s been on our show before, I hope she is again, but right now our concentration is Whoopi.”

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