Elisabeth Hasselbeck leaving 'The View' rumors swirl as ABC responds in statement

March 9, 2013 7:30:33 AM PST
Elisabeth Hasselbeck has a "long-term contract" with "The View," a rep for the ABC daytime talk show said Friday in response to reports that say the conservative co-host is set to leave her job after nine years.

A day earlier, the network announced that panelist Joy Behar, one of the last original cast members, would depart the series. The 70-year-old said she plans to concentrate on other projects.

The news outlets Us Weekly, TV Newser, Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter reported that Hasselbeck would not be back for season 17 in the fall. Each publication cited its own sources.

"Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a valued member of 'The View' and has a long-term contract," a ABC Entertainment Group spokesperson said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com on Friday, in response to the reports.

Hasselbeck has not commented. "The View" debuted in 1997 with four co-hosts - Walters, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira and Debbie Matenopoulos, who was axed two years later. The panel changed throughout the years.

Viera left in 2006 and joined NBC's "Today" show. Jones departed the same year after ABC opted not to renew her contract, following market research that showed that her dramatic weight loss and 2004 wedding to banker Al Reynolds had turned viewers off. She announced her exit on an episode of "The View," two days before the network had planned to confirm her departure to viewers.

Hasselbeck joined "The View" in 2003. Comedienne Sherri Shepherd was added to the panel in 2005 and Whoopi Goldberg, the current fifth co-host, was brought on in 2007.

Check out five notable moments involving Hasselbeck and "The View."

1. 2007 - Hasselbeck feuds with co-host Rosie O'Donnell.

O'Donnell, who has expressed liberal views, left the series in 2007 after she and Hasselbeck got into a screaming argument about the U.S.-led war on Iraq and al-Qaeda on the air. The two have argued on the show before. This time, O'Donnell accused her of not defending her against right-wing media criticism. People magazine reported that one of O'Donnell's staffers was caught drawing a mustache on a picture of Hasselbeck at "The View" studio.

2. 2008 - Hasselbeck makes a snarky comment believed to be about Michelle Obama.

Before the 2008 election, during the Republican National Convention, Hasselbeck hosted a televised luncheon honoring presidential candidate John McCain's wife Cindy, who had months earlier appeared on "The View." Michelle Obama, wife of then-Democratic contender and now President Barack Obama, had also been a guest on the show that year.

"Cindy came to our hair and makeup room, fresh as can be, and unlike another wife of a political candidate, who shall remain nameless, she didn't come with a list of topics that we weren't allowed to touch. That's because she had nothing to hide," Hasselbeck said at the event.

3. 2010 - Hasselbeck criticizes ESPN reporter Erin Andrews -- then apologizes.

Hasselbeck stirred controversy when she criticized Andrews for wearing skimpy outfits while she competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in May 2010.

"For the past like three weeks she's been wearing like next to nothing," Hasselbeck said, later noting the ESPN newscaster was once stalked by a man who filmed her naked in a hotel room.

"I think in light of what happened and as illegal and as inexcusable as it was for that horrific guy to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room, in some way, if I'm him, I'm like, 'Man, I could have just waited 12 weeks and seen this, a little bit less, without the prison time.'"

Hasselbeck later gave a tearful apology to Andrews on "The View."

4. 2010 - She voices support for Sarah Palin -- then criticizes her.

Before the 2008 election, Hasselbeck rallied for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who was popular among conservatives but criticized and often mocked over her on-air interviews. In December 2010, Hasselbeck publically criticized the politician for opposing a $4.5 million school lunch bill passed by U.S. lawmaker that called on a ban on unhealthy food in schools in a bid to combat child obesity.

The legislation was backed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Palin said parents should be responsible for their children's nutrition.

"I don't think it's right on either side of the aisle particularly when it deals with children's health," Hasselbeck said, adding that Palin's "mistake" was not taking into account the numerous parents who do not pack lunches for their children.

Walters teased Hasselbeck for her brief political shift, saying: "I would like it to be noted. On this day ... Elisabeth Hasselbeck said something that was not positive about Sarah Palin."

5. 2012 - she butts heads with Michael Moore.

In 2012, she and left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore got involved in a heated debate about the U.S. forces' April killing of Osama bin Laden, during which he said the al-Qaeda leader should have been put on trial instead, like the Nazis. Hasselbeck later said the two "passionately agree to disagree."

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