Contrary to Barbara Walters’ recent denial that Elisabeth Hasselbeck will be getting the boot from “The View” along with Joy Behar, a new report insists that Hasselbeck will indeed be leaving the daytime talk show before the end of her contract.
According to the NY Post, Hasselbeck’s tenure on the talk show “is toast” despite dismissals from ABC spokespeople.
"We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show," Walters told audience members last week, addressing fervent speculation that the conservative host was getting fired. "Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance.”
But according to a source with inside knowledge of the show, network executives are intent on boosting viewership and no longer trust Hasselbeck’s ability to attract an audience.
“ABC is desperate to freshen the show,” a source told the Post. “Ratings are going soft, and research numbers on the stars’ likability are scaring network execs.”
“Dumping Joy Behar, who was there 16 years, and Hasselbeck would be the fastest way to do it, they decided,” the source added. “After giving Behar the bad news last week and letting her bow out gracefully, someone leaked the Hasselbeck thing. Some enemies she has on the show saw their chance to get back at her. Barbara was spitting mad that it got mishandled, and called off the firing over [last] weekend.”
Us Magazine also reported that that a network insider revealed that Hasselbeck’s political views are believed to have drifted too far right of the center.
"The viewers they polled all said she was too extreme and right wing," a source told the magazine. "People did not watch the show because of Elisabeth. So they told her yesterday her contract would not be renewed."
ABC’s only comment was that “Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a valued member of ‘The View’ and has a long-term contract."
However, the source who spoke to the Post said that it’s likely Hasselbeck will make an early exit ahead of her contract. “It could be earlier, because the ABC brass believes the show needs to be younged-up fast. They easily could coax her to go early,” the source said.
The source added that some of the names being considered as replacements for Hasselbeck include Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley and George Stephanopoulos’ wife, Ali Wentworth, who is reportedly viewed as a favorite for the spot.
A rep for ‘The View’ said that the rumors were nothing more than “speculation” and said that the network had “no further comment.”