Why ‘The View’ Is Afraid to Get Rid of Meghan McCain
Though The View has been on hiatus since the first week of August, that doesn’t mean Meghan McCain has been quietly enjoying her vacation time. On August 11, the conservative co-host of the daytime talk show took to Twitter to lash out at Elle Magazine.
Elle, below a Miley Cyrus cover spread and headline, had featured a second header reading, “Meghan McCain Is Having a Bad Week.” As with so many other things in her life, that headline drew scorn and a considerable dose of self-pity from McCain.
For fans of The View, it probably seemed like just another day. McCain has voiced her displeasure with so many aspects of the show you might wonder why she keeps working on it — and why ABC keeps her aboard.
When rumors swirled about McCain’s potential departure in July, The View was quick to close ranks. Judging by the network’s comments and the current status of the show, it doesn’t take much to understand why.
‘The View’ has found great success with the current lineup.
In the Barbara Walters era, The View was ruled with a bit of an iron fist by a powerful media figure. Walters relentlessly pursued quality and wanted the best co-hosts the network could afford. These days, it’s very different.
Whoopi Goldberg, the show’s moderator and biggest draw, considers the show “a job” and little more. She can’t be bothered to play puppet-master as Walters once did. So the unseen producers and network executives run the show.
To them, there’s likely nothing about The View they’d want to change (as far as the cast is concerned). After all, the show’s ratings are great, the cast received Emmy nominations for last season, and the New York Times called it “the most important political TV show in America” earlier in 2019.
Despite her thin skin and record of on-air meltdowns, McCain has a share of that success. Disrupting the show’s current balance (however fragile) could change that.
Most fans would probably dislike McCain’s replacement, anyway.
Before The View fired Elisabeth Hasselbeck (something Walters lied about on the air), ABC’s research showed that Hasselbeck was the least-liked co-host. If you go by social media and other informal metrics, you might come to the conclusion McCain is the least popular co-host these days.
However, that could simply be the case for any conservative co-host on the show. After all, the left-leaning Whoopi and Joy Behar are the show’s fixtures, while the remainder of the cast has only been around a few years.
Hilary Estey McLoughlin, the show’s senior executive producer, has acknowledged how the show’s conservative chair can have a tough time. “It’s a hard job,” McLoughlin told The Daily Beast. “It’s the hardest job on the show, for sure.”
In other words, The View could replace McCain, but it could find itself struggling to regain the conservative-liberal tension the way it did after Hasselbeck’s departure. (Producers admitted they made a mistake firing Behar and Hasselbeck.)
ABC, in the midst of a constantly shifting media landscape, likely has no interest in experimenting. They have a winning product and they’ll stick with it.
As for McCain, we can’t think of a job that would give her a bigger platform. We imagine she’ll do whatever it takes to stay on The View as long as she can.