“The View” has some ‘splainin’ to do.
On Monday’s show, the full lineup of co-hosts will be present to talk about the news that Joy Behar has decided to leave the show this summer.
The news broke late Thursday, but as happens often, Friday morning’s show was likely taped in advance (the only episode of “The View” each week that is not always “live”) making it impossible for Friday’s show to “react” to the news.
But late Friday, ABC announced that the Behar story will be discussed on Monday’s show, presumably as one of the show’s “Hot Topics” discussed in the show’s first segments.
However, ABC’s announcement made no mention of the news that broke at around the same time on Friday that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is also set to leave — making this hot topic even hotter.
There was no word on Saturday on whether the Hasselbeck news will be discussed on Monday’s show too (though we don’t see how the subject can possibly be avoided).
“Joy Behar discusses her decision to exit ‘The View’ with her pals Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd live Monday, March 11,” said an announcement from the show late Friday. “As an original cast member, Ms. Behar has been instrumental in the success of ‘The View’ since its creation in 1997 and will continue to appear for the remainder of the season,” the announcement continued. That means her last day will be in mid-summer, just before the show goes on its customary hiatus in August.
The announcement came hours after Friday morning’s show. A discussion of the Behar news on Friday would have felt incomplete anyway because both Walters and Shepherd were absent from the show. All of the show’s co-hosts will be present and accounted for on Monday.
Behar, 70, explained her decision in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, however. “You can’t stay forever on a show,” she said on “GMA.” “I am graciously exiting stage left. I’ve put in 16 years and felt the time was right. I want to explore other opportunities.”
The statement rings true. Joy has long had talk shows of her own on the side — one on HLN and one on Current TV. With Current being sold to Al Jazeera, she’s been reportedly looking around for one of those “other opportunities,” including meeting with new CNN President Jeff Zucker (though there’s no word on whether she’ll play a role in his plans to revamp the network).
But the Hasselbeck news is murkier. ABC has yet to confirm that she’s leaving, reportedly issuing a statement saying only: “Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a valued member of ‘The View’ and has a long term contract.” Our take on that is: It’s not a confirmation or a denial of the story that first broke here on the Us Weekly Web site.
The Us story, and the stories that have appeared subsequently in other places based on the Us story, reported that Hasselbeck’s contract won’t be renewed for next season, following some sort of research survey indicating that she isn’t well-liked among viewers of “The View.” One of the reasons cited, according to the stories: She’s politically conservative. Of course, the idea that her contract is not being renewed would indicate that her current contract is expiring — which flies in the face of ABC’s claim that she has a “long-term” contract. As of Saturday morning, there’s been no comment from Hasselbeck and no additional comment from ABC.
Our guess is that plans are being formulated now to handle the Hasselbeck news, including adding the topic to Monday’s show. Whether she’s poised to leave or she’s staying, her status must be addressed.
And there’s another wrinkle to the story: Persistent rumors that Walters is also reportedly making plans to either reduce her role at the show or step away entirely. One of the stories turned up here, on the New York Daily News Web site.
Is this story true? Well, she is 83, and at that age, most people would be thinking about packing it in. But Barbara Walters? She’s had some health setbacks lately, but despite them, we don’t see her quitting voluntarily. Nor do we see ABC forcing her out since “The View” and her prime-time specials still make money for the network. Stay tuned.