Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: 'The View' from the director's seat

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Sarah de la O has been the director of "The View" since 2015, and not only is she the show's first-ever female director, she's also a trailblazer who proves herself calm and capable amid chaos.

"During the live show, I'm on the ground, and I'm seeing what I'm looking at," Executive Producer Brian Teta. "She sees everything, and she has the ability to know what's going to happen before it happens, which on this show could be anything. She's playing chess three moves ahead of the rest of us. She needs to. You can't do this show without that instinct."

Since college, de la O has not wanted to do any other job.

"I started right out of college working for the KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles, but I knew I wanted to direct," she said. "So as soon as there was a spot open, I was just like, 'Pick me! Pick me!'"

But in the control room, she can't take any time to admire "The View," since she is too busy making sure the viewers at home are enjoying it.

"Directing is all about instincts," she said. "It's the thrill, the excitement, and all those fun things that go with it. But it's also being that people person. It's also being compassionate, knowing your crew, knowing your work family, knowing people's strengths and weaknesses, being a leader."

The cast and crew of "The View" is like an orchestra, with the soloists down front and an ensemble behind them led by one conductor -- who is also a single mom.

"It's a really amazing thing to have a woman running a big show like this," Executive Producer Candi Carter said. "This is a show for women by women, and so it makes me proud to see someone like Sarah in that seat."

Women make up just 16 percent of the membership in the Directors Guild of America, but there are signs the situation is improving. And de la O is ahead of the curve.

"One of the things that people don't understand about 'The View' is it's really difficult to direct five people who unscripted are talking at the same time," Carter said. "And so Sarah has this incredible talent to stay calm when something exciting happens or they start talking over each other. She can actually follow the conversation because she remembers where their voices are. And she has to literally memorize where they are and cut back and forth."

Carter sits behind de la O, along with Senior Executive Producer Hilary Estey-McLoughlin, who notes that her director captures the moments.

"She understands the rhythm of the panel," she said. "She understands that it's an intimate conversation that we all want to be part of as viewers. And we like to think that the women at home, or whoever is watching our show -- men, too -- are at the table and a part of the conversation."

It's a perfect fit for a maestro who makes her own kind of music.

"100 percent is instinct, and it's one of those things that at this point in my career, I don't even think about," she said. "You just react. You just do what you do. You just make it happen."

De la O is doing her dream job, and that's just one reason she takes time to mentor others in her profession as she was once mentored and encouraged.

"The View" airs each weekday morning at 11 a.m. on ABC7.

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