Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said a tearful goodbye to the popular morning show on Tuesday, December 22. An outspoken Conservative, Ms. Hasselbeck announced her departure from the program last month to spend more time with her children and husband. Hasselbeck, a former Survivor contestant turned View co-host, had been on Fox News Channel’s morning program since 2013.
During Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s final episode of Fox & Friends, she discussed her decision to walk away from the number one rated morning show on all of cable, saying it was important to spend time with her family.
In her November announcement, Hasselbeck explained the decision and praised her boss for creating a mother-friendly work environment, according to People.
“Oftentimes, the most difficult decisions are between two great things. Throughout my 14 years working in television, I have never experienced a more positive and thoughtful atmosphere than FOX News Channel, thanks to the strong leadership of (FOX News Chairman & CEO) Roger Ailes, who has created the best working environment a woman and mother could ask for.”
The New York Daily News highlighted Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s tearful goodbye from the program, during which she again praised her colleagues at Fox News and Roger Ailes, specifically.
“He gave me two gifts: One, he gave me the opportunity to join you all in this family, and two, he gave me an outstanding amount of understanding and guidance when I made this decision to go home,” she said.
As for a replacement for the conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, there has been no announcement from Fox News. The show’s other two co-hosts – Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade – previously hosted the show with Gretchen Carlson before she was given her own afternoon show on the network.
The morning show wars have heated up among the major cable channels in recent years since Jeff Zucker took over as president of CNN and placed a focus on the network’s morning show. Zucker, a former producer of the Today Show at NBC, created CNN’s New Day and poached Chris Cuomo from ABC’s Good Morning America, where he had previously served as a news reader for the program.
Over on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski continue to lead Morning Joe, although Mediaite points out that the program’s ratings in the 24-54 demographic are down eight percent for the year while New Day is up 10 percent in the same category. As for how Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s departure could impact the numbers across the three cable networks, it is unknown at this point.
One of the other factors is CNN’s sister network, HLN. TVNewser reports the network posted solid year-over-year growth and experienced “more November growth compared to the same month last year than Fox News and MSNBC. The new-look HLN is up +7 percent in the key A25-54 demo.”
The network’s Morning Express sometimes rivals Morning Joe in the ratings, showing that the little-known cable channel can make waves. Of course, the network does not necessarily bring in the viral views Morning Joe, New Day, and Fox & Friends generate online, but it does not mean the network and its morning show should be counted out.
In the same TVNewser article, Zucker – who oversees both CNN and HLN – said, “HLN programming would resemble CNN” in the coming years, depending on a deep bench of content. He, of course, is alluding to the network’s original series from stars Lisa Ling – who like Hasselbeck is another View co-host – and others like Morgan Spurlock.
As for Fox & Friends, while there is no news on a replacement for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Fox News does have a roster of rising stars who could be a good fit for the show and its co-hosts. Harris Faulkner was recently on the show with a cooking segment, and several opinion shows in the afternoon such as The Five offer a variety of possible talent.
[Featured image via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]