MTV’s “Buckwild,” in its first season, has been averaging 3 million viewers per episode. (MTV)

“Buckwild,” MTV’s West Virginia-set “Jersey Shore” replacement, has snagged a second season.

Running in the Thursday-at-10 p.m. time slot that was once home to the hit “Jersey Shore,” “Buckwild” is the night’s No. 1 television program among MTV’s target audience: 12- to 34-year-olds.

In that age bracket, “Buckwild” is this year’s third-ranked cable program, behind only ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” and MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show.”

Among viewers of all ages, “Buckwild” has been averaging 3 million viewers per episode — which puts it on par with “Do No Harm,” which NBC unveiled last Thursday at 10 p.m.

We wondered how news of the “Buckwild” pickup had been received by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Before the show’s unveiling, Manchin wrote to Viacom-owned MTV, demanding that the show be canceled because, among other complaints, it “plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.”

We called Manchin’s office to seek comment; at press time, we had received no response. In fairness, Manchin’s been busy this week, giving an interview to USA Today in which, the paper reported, he seemed surprised when asked whether he owned a gun, pointing out that he is from West Virginia.

(Manchin’s the guy who famously blasted a copy of an environmental bill with a rifle, in a 2010 campaign ad.)

Anyway, MTV prefers to think of “Buckwild” as a series about “a group of nine young, carefree and adventurous friends living in West Virginia, who find unique ways to create their own fun” rather than a slight to West Virginians.

MTV has been running two back-to-back episodes of the reality soap each Thursday. This week’s episodes will close out the show’s initial 12-episode order.

MTV plans to air “Buckwild” outtakes at 11 p.m. after the season finale. And you can already pre-order the “Buckwild: Season One Uncensored” DVD on MTV’s Web site.

Walters checks in

Barbara Walters phoned in to “The View” to say that she’s been MIA from the show because not only did she have the chicken pox, but that she had also fainted and had a concussion — leaving her so weak that she’d have to sit out the entire February “sweep” on doctors’ orders.

“Hello, my darlings — I miss you!” Walters, 83, gushed to The Ladies of “The View” late Wednesday morning.

As Babs finally explained, she had a fever and the chicken pox on the day she attended the inaugural party at the British Embassy in Washington. When it was reported that she’d fallen on the steps outside the embassy, she’d actually fainted, she said.

“If you’re going to faint, it’s an elegant place to faint,” Babs explained with pride.

She hit her head, giving her a concussion and landing her six stitches.

To recap:

Chicken pox





“I do feel weak and tired and probably won’t be back on the program for about three weeks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to every single word” that’s being said on the show, she warned.

The Ladies discussed whether they should send Babs that case of calamine lotion, as they’d planned.

“You know what’s amazing. . . . After all these years, we still have nothing you can put on the itching except calamine lotion,” Babs marveled.

“We have Facebook and Twitter — and calamine lotion.”

It’s those non sequiturs that we have been missing all these days since Babs was last seen on “The View.” Those and the big “gets” Babs brings to the show — interviews that can make all the difference, ratingswise, particularly during sweep derbies.

Remember when Babs landed President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama last fall, making their very first joint visit to “The View” (so as to preempt the Romneys) and bringing Babs a birthday basket of White House goodies because she always “pilfers” things when she visits the White House anyway?

Remember Rielle Hunter?

Remember Mariah Carey, who came to talk to her pal Babs about hiring protection for her baby twins from Nicki Minaj’s camp on “American Idol”?

Remember Babs’s sit-down with America’s favorite train wreck, Lindsay Lohan, on the eve of her “Liz & Dick” debut on Lifetime — oh, never mind on that last one.

Anyway, “The View” moderator Whoopi Goldberg cut off the conversation after just a few minutes, telling Babs to go rest.

In lieu of a great Babs interview, “The View” booked Kris Jenner on Wednesday’s show. Mama Kardashian almost immediately announced that she would not divorce her husband, Bruce Jenner — “not in a million, bazillion years” — setting that rumor to rest for the next five minutes.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to