Who ‘The View’ Producers Wanted to Hire Instead of Abby Huntsman

When you’re dealing with stories about The View, it’s hard to know who to trust. If you listened to Barbara Walters in 2013, you would have thought Elisabeth Hasselbeck had no chance of being fired. The thing was, she already had been fired, so there was one unreliable source.

That followed a familiar pattern. Before Hasselbeck, everyone from Debbie Matenopoulos to Star Jones had been forced out for one reason or another — all while the cover story said they’d left on their own. In Rosie O’Donnell’s case, the moderator of 2006-07 simply didn’t have her contract renewed.

The hiring process at The View has been almost as complicated. In 2007, you had Whoopi Goldberg and Gayle King as finalists to replace Rosie, with Whoopi eventually coming out on top. (Meghan McCain also didn’t make the cut her first time around.)

As for Abby Huntsman, the newest co-host on The View, it turns out the daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia wasn’t the show’s first pick. In Ramin Setoodeh’s Ladies Who Punch, we learn The View wanted a former co-host back instead.

‘The View’ originally wanted Elisabeth Hasselbeck back.

4/3/19 “The View” throws a baby shower for Abby Huntsman, April 3, 2019 on ABC. | Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

Readers of Ladies Who Punch get to see the firing of Elisabeth Hasselbeck from every side except Hasselbeck’s. (She declined to be interviewed for the book.) But it’s clear that Hasselbeck wasn’t happy about how things went down in 2013.

Though she showed up for Walters’s farewell show in 2014, from that point on Hasselbeck declined invitations for events at The View. From her decision to not speak to Setoodeh — and her reactions to the book on social media — you get the idea she’s happy to move on from the show.

However, that doesn’t mean the show wouldn’t have her back. Prior to Huntsman getting the job in 2018, Setoodeh says the show’s reps reached out to Hasselbeck with an offer to return. But the veteran of one of The View’s most explosive moments declined to replace Sara Haines.

To fill out the cast for Season 22, ABC executives turned to Huntsman next. Huntsman started at the show in September and stayed on until leaving to give birth to twins in May.

How long Huntsman will last remains an open question.

Joe Biden appears on Walt Disney Television’s “The View,” April 26, 2019. | Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

While we know when and how Huntsman got started on the show, the open question is how long she’ll last. At times, she’s appeared overmatched — either in personality or quality of argument — by co-host Sunny Hostin and Whoopi in the moderator’s chair.

In the past, the show has dispensed with veteran actors (e.g., Rosie Perez) and brand-name political pundits (e.g., Nicole Wallace) after only one year of service. Huntsman’s underwhelming first season probably doesn’t guarantee her much in the way of long-term job security.

Still, it would be surprising if Huntsman didn’t return to The View following her maternity leave. (She gave birth to healthy twins at the start of June.) After that, all bets are off. Maybe The View’s market research tells execs that fans enjoy her performances more than it seems.

If the show stays true to form, we won’t know the real reason she stuck around or left anyhow.

See alsoWhy Rosie O’Donnell Compared ‘The View’ to the Trump Administration