Barbara Walters Refutes Us Weekly Story That Elisabeth Hasselbeck Is Leaving 'The View.' Magazine Fires Back That Walters' Denial Is a Strategic Ploy Fox News, People, Us Weekly
[Updated at 9:50 a.m. PT to include reaction of Us Weekly.]
Barbara Walters, the co-creator and co-host of "The View," has denied the rumor, first reported by Us Weekly on March 8, 2013, that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is leaving the show, reports Fox News.
Us Weekly had reported that Hasselbeck was being booted from the morning talk staple over her conservative political views.
Said today's Fox report, "Early on during [today’s] episode, Walters discussed reports that Hasselbeck was leaving the show because of the conservative opinions she often voices." The story quotes Walters saying on the show: "There is a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up about Elisabeth's departure. We value her and appreciate [her] point of view. ... She helps keep the show balanced."
Walters then said: "We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave the show."
According to a second Us Weekly story, also posted today, March 11, 2013, about Walters' comments, Walters added, "[Executive producer] Bill [Geddie] and I have always said that when one of you makes the choice to leave, that is your choice, and we will support your decision."
The Us story posted on its website today adds: "A source tells Us that the denial is part of a strategy to 'save face' for both Hasselbeck and the series. Producers are 'just leaving the door open for Elisabeth to announce she is leaving on her own when she is ready,' the insider explains. 'They don't want to make her look bad and don't want to make the show look bad for canning her. ... They just want to make it seem like Elisabeth decided to leave on her own when the announcement comes.'"
Today's Us story adds, "Original panelist Star Jones departed the show amid similar drama in 2006; before Jones' surprise, on-air exit, Walters had denied rampant rumors that Jones was on her way out. Jones returned to the show to bury the hatchet in February 2012, saying of her renegade departure: 'I made the decision to go out on my own terms, to control it, so that if I was ever invited back, I would feel good about it.' Walters then admitted to viewers that Jones' contract was simply not renewed and that the denials about her leaving were to 'protect' Jones."
The original Us story on March 8 quoted an unnamed source as saying: "The viewers they polled all said she was too extreme and right wing. People did not watch the show because of Elisabeth. So they told her [Thursday, March 7] her contract would not be renewed." That Us story was posted March 8 and carried the byline of Joyce Chen. The headline said: "Exclusive: Elisabeth Hasselbeck Leaving The View After Nine Years, Viewers Found Her 'Too Extreme and Right Wing.' "
Hasselbeck, who surfaced as a contestant on CBS’s “Survivor” in 2001, has been with “The View” since 2003. “False rumors of her departure came just days after Joy Behar confirmed she would not be returning to the show,” Fox News notes.