“Fox & Friends” host Gretchen Carlson officially announced on Wednesday that she would be exiting the daytime Fox news program to be replaced by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, confirming months of rumors. Wednesday also marked Hasselbeck’s last day on “The View,” the talk show she has spent the last decade co-hosting.
According to Fox News, Carlson, 47, will be moving up on the Fox ladder with a daytime show of her own, beginning in September. Carlson broke the news on the program by thanking her co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, and thanking viewers for their loyalty.
"I'm going to be leaving 'Fox & Friends' after seven great years here with the guys on the curvy couch, thanks very much to the both of you,” Carlson said. “I’m going to move forward in my career, moving on to the afternoons here at Fox and hosting my own show coming up in September.”
Her co-hosts congratulated her on-air on the move, while also telling viewers to stay tuned for Hasselbeck’s arrival. “We know you work really hard and it shows each and every morning” Doocy said. “We look forward to welcoming [Hasselbeck] here as well.”
As for Hasselbeck, by far the most conservative voice on “The View,” her farewell on Wednesday followed months of denials that she was leaving. Hasselbeck’s current co-host Barbara Walters also shot down the rumors in March, telling audience members “We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show. Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance.”
Despite Walters' and Hasselbeck’s staunch denials to the contrary, the NY Post reported that ABC producers were unhappy with Hasselbeck’s performance on the show and no longer believed that she was capable of drawing in viewers.
“ABC is desperate to freshen the show,” a source told the publication. “Ratings are going soft, and research numbers on the stars’ likability are scaring network execs.”
But Fox News chief Roger Ailes sounded more upbeat about bringing Hasselbeck into the Fox fold. In a statement, he described her move to the show as a natural fit, saying, “Elisabeth’s warm and engaging personality made her a star on ‘The View.’ She has proven to be an excellent conversationalist, and I am certain she will make a great addition to our already successful morning franchise.”
Barbara Walters also spoke fondly of her co-host, saying, “We have had 10 wonderful years with Elisabeth and she will now be swimming in new waters. We will miss her and wish her everything good.”