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The changing 'View' without Elisabeth Hasselbeck and soon, Walters

Challenging times for ABC's 'The View' as Elisabeth Hasselbeck departs for Fox News and Barbara Walters plans to retire.

July 12, 2013|Meredith Blake

It could simply be that the show is veering away from politics altogether, a possibility strengthened by the upcoming departure of Behar, an equally vociferous liberal with her own show on Current.

Bloggers and media insiders might get a kick out of the partisan bickering on "The View," but the average viewer may find the heated conversations and subsequent tearful apologies less amusing — especially in an A.M. time slot where in some markets, "The View" now competes with the loopy, lighthearted fourth hour of "Today."

"Even if you can't stand Elisabeth Hasselbeck, it was awful to see her break down on camera," said Jessica Coen, editor-in-chief of the feminist website Jezebel, which has closely documented the various feuds at "The View." "It's not morning entertainment. That's the kind of thing we've come to expect from reality TV."

Neither of the two women rumored to be in the running as new co-hosts, Jenny McCarthy and Brooke Shields, are particularly outspoken when it comes to the subject of party politics. Shields has written openly about her battle with postpartum depression and the help she received from antidepressants, which could make her popular with some women.

McCarthy, a former Playboy model who rose to fame as co-host of the '90s MTV dating show "Singled Out," has a raunchy candor that would certainly liven up "The View." But given her ongoing support for the widely discredited theory linking childhood vaccines with autism, McCarthy may prove more divisive — particularly on a show aimed at mothers — than Hasselbeck.

And even if the partisan squabbles have grown exhausting, ditching the Washington chit-chat altogether isn't necessarily the best idea, according to some observers.

"'The View' has always been good at having those more serious discussions, and I hope they don't abandon that altogether. Women can like both things, fluff and more serious content," said Coen. "We contain multitudes."

meredith.blake@latimes.com

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