Is Elisabeth Hasselbeck leaving "The View"? Maybe one day, but not today, according to Barbara Walters, who addressed rumors that said Hasselbeck was being fired from the long-running daytime talk show.
On Monday, Walters wasted no time in addressing the story, which broke on Friday, that Hasselbeck's contract would not be renewed.
"There is a particularly false story getting picked up about Elisabeth's alleged departure, saying that we don't approve of her conservative views," Walters said. "The truth is, we love Elisabeth. I like her personally and she's just a wonderful person. But beyond that we value and appreciate her point of view. It's important to us because Elisabeth helps give this show perspective and balance."
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Walters continued, "We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show. Having said that to all of you, Bill and I have always said that when one of you makes the choice to leave, that's your choice and we will support your decision. But right now, the only person who cannot leave the show is me."
Many thought Hasselbeck's outspoken conservative views, which have frequently been a source of friction between herself and other members of the panel, including Whoopi Goldberg, were a part of the reason she was being ousted. But those now appear to be just conjecture.
Reports of Hasselbeck's departure came on the heels of the announcement that Joy Behar, the only other person on the panel who had been on the show as long as Walters, was leaving when her contract expired in August. She has been with the program since 1997.
Walters said she would miss Behar, but the comedian was in a joking mood. "I don't like my jobs to last longer than my marriages," she said. The 70-year-old Behar has said she plans to return to her stand-up comedy and complete a play she's been writing.
As The Times reported last week, the cast shake-ups may come from pressure by producers to make changes to the show as it comes under ratings pressure.
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