The ladies of The View made quite a few headlines last week, with Joy Behar announcing her decision to leave the daytime talk show after almost 17 years, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck raising a storm of speculation that she will be out too. The View‘s co-creator/executive producer/matriarch Barbara Walters addressed the later at the top of the show today. “There is a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up about Elisabeth’s alleged departure, saying we don’t approve of her conservative views,” Walters said. “The truth is, we love Elisabeth… We value and appreciate her point of view. She helps give this show perspective and balance… So we have no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show.” But Walters didn’t shut the door on the rumors completely, saying she and exec producer Bill Geddie won’t stop any of the co-stars who “make the choice to leave.” Hasselbeck had been on the chopping block for the past couple of weeks, with ABC reportedly even considering potential replacements.
Meanwhile, Walters called Behar’s decision to leave The View “very bittersweet.” “Joy and I started this show together,” she said, turning to Behar, “I want what’s best for you.” True to her standup roots, Behar counted down her top 10 reasons for departing including, “ABC won’t let me drink on the air like (Today‘s) Hoda and Kathie Lee.”