ABC’s The View is often in the headlines due to its on-air spats between co-hosts as well as the consistent revolving of panelists. Now with Abby Huntsman’s departure from the show, there is once again an empty seat at the table looking to be filled.
The daytime program has seen its share of shifts in co-hosts. Back in 2013, two panelists did not get renewals for their contracts. One of them wrote about the day she was fired in a recent book.
Behar was one
In 2013, Joy Behar was told her contract would not be renewed. The comedian had been a panelist on the show since its launch in 1997 and had her own theory on why she was being let go. Despite the program’s now infamous political bent, ABC execs were apparently looking to tone it down.
“Somebody wanted me gone. It was not 100 percent my choice,” Behar told People in 2017. “The way I heard it, and I don’t know what’s true because you never know, they got rid of a Republican so they wanted to get rid of a Democrat. That’s not the first time I’ve been fired for my politics. So I wasn’t shocked at that analysis.”
At the time, Behar wasn’t fully clear on the reason for the show’s shift in content, or why she was given the boot. “I was ready to go. I had enough,” she said to Entertainment Weekly in 2015. “I think that somebody … I can’t mention names … made the decision to change the show for some reason,” she revealed. “I really am not at liberty to say who or why because I don’t know 100 percent the truth of that.”
Fans of Behar rejoiced when she was brought back to the panel in 2015. “I went back to do politics,” she told People. “They told me, ‘It’s going to be smart, and we’re going to pay you more money.’”
Hasselbeck was the other
Elisabeth Hasselbeck had a seat at The View’s table from 2003 to 2013. The co-host served as the resident conservative on the panel, often sparring with her more liberal colleagues (particularly Rosie O’Donnell). Hasselbeck was also fired from the show in 2013, and gave a detailed description of the day she was told in her book “Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom.”
She wrote that in March 2013, things “had begun to feel unusual,” with several guest hosts beginning to appear on the show. “I remember Brooke Shields coming in with a team of assistants studying the topics really hard in the makeup chair, going over notes with an effort that seemed, well, familiar,” Hasselbeck recalled, according to Entertainment Tonight. “And it dawned on me: Brooke was not just guest hosting; she was applying for a job.”
On the fateful day of her firing, Hasselbeck revealed that she got a visit the ABC brass. “When I looked up, not one but two male figures stood there — the producer of The View and an ABC executive. ‘We would like to speak with you about something,’ one of them said,” she wrote. “Without emotion, without wasting a minute, they told me they were not renewing my contract. They said the show would be going in a less political direction, and that I could leave that day or the next day or stay for the remainder of this current season — but, come September, they were replacing me.”
The news devastated Hasselbeck. “I could not breathe — literally, could not breathe,” she shared, adding that she “asked permission” to retrieve her inhaler. “I was bent over — shock, asthma and betrayal all stealing my wind.”
No direct answers
Hasselbeck tried to find out the reason for her dismissal. “‘Was there something I could have done differently?'” she asked. “‘Can I do something differently now? If you would just tell me, I would work on that — and make it better …’ I kept asking, trying to figure out how to get it back, trying to get it all back.”
The conservative co-host pressed further for answers but came up empty. “‘I have come here and had babies and shared my heart,'” she told the two ABC bigwigs. “‘I have done my work, and I just don’t understand. Why did you not tell me there was something I could have done better, so I could have done that?’ Blank stares met those anguished words.”
After 90 minutes of “just sobbing,” Hasselbeck had to continue her day. “Feeling a dose of betrayal and a whopper of confusion, I felt like the walls of the building were folding in on me,” she wrote.
Hasselbeck’s last day on The View was in July 2013, when she announced she was headed to Fox News’ Fox & Friends. Show creator Barbara Walters helped facilitate the move by reaching out to former chairman and CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes, which “meant the world” to Hasselbeck. Yet despite the seemingly kind gesture, rumors swirled that Walters wanted the departure to look as amicable as possible and make it appear that Hasselbeck’s exit was due to the new career opportunity. Years later, Hasselbeck was given an offer to come back to the show on a permanent basis, which she declined, though she has appeared as a guest.
Since Behar and Hasselbeck never got concrete answers, it is doubtful that fans of The View will ever know the full story. Now with Huntsman’s seat at the table empty, viewers are waiting to see who becomes the newest team member of the daytime talk show.