Not so fast.
Following last week’s news that original co-host Joy Behar will be leaving The View, along with rumors that Brooke Shields will be coming aboard to replace Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Barbara Walters attempted to set the record straight on Monday’s program.
Walters, who made her entrance at the top of the show on Hasselbeck’s arm, looked at the camera and said she wished to address “a particularly false story.” She said that reports that Hasselbeck’s opposing political views, as expressed on the show, were not forcing her removal.
“We love Elisabeth,” said Walters, who also said that the others appreciate her political differences, too.
Without being specific, however, Walters also possibly suggested that Hasselbeck might be thinking about leaving. As the veteran co-host (and co-owner of the show) emphasized, whatever her colleagues want for themselves is what Walters wants for them, too.
In the past, Hasselbeck, 35, has clashed with her cohorts, usually because of her politically conservative stance.
Concerning her own future, Behar, 70, has said she wants to host a new interview show of her own. With a lump in her throat, Behar told Walters she will miss her on Monday’s show. She also said (in a funny Top 10 list of why she’s leaving) that ABC won’t let her drink on the air, like Today‘s Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Hasselbeck came to The View in November 2003, after guest-hosting in the wake of Lisa Ling’s departure the year before. On Monday, Whoopi Goldberg made note of Ling’s new baby.
According to the New York Post, February sweeps ratings for The View – the show had achieved its all-time highs during the Rosie O’Donnell era – held steady in New York but slipped nearly 20 percent in Los Angeles and 11 percent in Chicago, the nation s No. 2 and 3 markets.