Elisabeth Hasselbeck is not leaving The View, according to the show’s co-host Barbara Walters.
Rumors about Hasselbeck’s possible departure from the daytime show swirled across the internet over the weekend, including speculation that she would be replaced by actress Brooke Shields. During this morning’s edition of The View, Walters addressed the speculation outright.
“There is a particularly false story that is getting picked up about Elisabeth’s alleged departure, saying we don’t approve of her conservative views,” Barbara Walters explained to viewers.
“The truth is we love Elisabeth. I like her personally, and she’s a wonderful person. But beyond that, we value and appreciate her point of view; it’s important to us, because Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance,” she continued. “And believe me, she’s tougher than she looks.”
Walters, a co-owner of The View, assured loyal viewers that while she supports the personal decisions of her co-hosts, there is currently no plans for Elizabeth Hasselbeck to leave the show.
Speculation about Elisabeth Hasselbeck leaving the show started popping up across the internet shortly after last week’s announcement that Joy Behar, one of the daytime program’s original co-hosts, will be leaving The View.
Following Barbara Walter’s dismissal of the Hasselbeck rumors this morning, focus turned to Behar and her impending exit from the show. The soon departing co-host managed to grab the spotlight with an amusing Top Ten list detailing her personal reasons for leaving.
Her tongue-in-cheek explanation ranged from the inability to consume alcohol on-air like Today’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, to a fear of contracting “childhood diseases.” The latter is likely a reference to Barbara Walters, who was recently absent from several episodes of the show as she recovered from chicken pox.
The View, currently in its 17th season, has seen the arrival and departure of several different co-hosts throughout its run on the ABC network. Elisabeth Hasselbeck joined the program in November 2003, filling a spot left open by Lisa Ling.
Hasselbeck, considered to be politically conservative, has been known to firmly stand her ground during disagreements with her colleagues, including Barbara Walters. In 1997, the 35-year-old reportedly took part in some well publicized verbal sparring with former co-host Rosie O’Donnell.
What do you think of Barbara Walters refuting rumors that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is leaving The View?