Whoopi Goldberg is only regular 'The View' co-host due to COVID and other absences: 'You can't believe the day we've had'
The View crew was down to a three-person panel on Friday's show due to COVID and other factors.
Whoopi Goldberg kicked off Friday's show with reference to being the only regular co-host at the table on the ABC show, noting it had been an "insane" day behind-the-scenes.
"So none of the people that they introduced are here today," Goldberg said at the top of the show before going on to introduce guest co-hosts Ana Navarro and Eboni K. Williams.
"Poor Eboni came in to say hello to me this morning and I was like, 'Look, don't get close!,'" Navarro quipped as the three sat widely spaced at the table.
"You can't believe the day we've had," Goldberg said. "It's been insane and crazy and yes, there are only three of us today."
Without a real explanation, Whoopi Goldberg announces only 3 co-hosts for The View today, one of which is a guest."You can't believe the day we've had. It's been insane and crazy and yes, there are only three of us today." pic.twitter.com/bHS9H7ZmOI
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) March 18, 2022
Goldberg didn't get into why there were only three panelists tackling "Hot Topics," leading to speculation on social media as to the whereabouts of co-hosts Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines.
Here's what we know: COVID was a factor for Alyssa Farah Griffin, who's been guest hosting this week. On Friday, as the show aired live on the East Coast, President Trump's former communications director tweeted that she was MIA because she tested positive for COVID.
Hey guys - after dodging COVID for 2 1/2 yrs, including during the 2/20 Munich Sec Conf, a bunch of international & domestic travel, & when most of the West Wing had it -- it finally got me! I'm feeling crummy, but am grateful to be double vaxxed & boosted.
Stay safe, friends!
— Alyssa Farah Griffin 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@Alyssafarah) March 18, 2022
COVID was also behind Behar's absence — but it wasn't a surprise. On Thursday's show, it was explained that Behar, who wasn't there, would be taking "a few days" off due to being in close contact with someone who had COVID. She was feeling fine, they said, but stayed away as a precaution. (Navarro made it clear Behar was "not on strike over the chair" — after the 79-year-old recently took a tumble.)
As for Hostin and Haines, neither was scheduled to be on Friday's show. Haines has been off all week to tape the game show The Chase, it was also noted on Thursday's show. Meanwhile, Hostin simply had a scheduled day off.
Like all productions, COVID has impacted The View over the last two years. In January, Goldberg was absent from the show after testing positive. Navarro had COVID around the same time. Hostin had COVID over the holidays — and lost two family members the year before due to the pandemic.
However, the co-hosts, who are all forthcoming about being vaccinated and boosted, follow strict protocols on the set. They're regularly tested — famously with some false positives along the way — and have gone remote at times when there has been a close exposure within the group, including in early January after Goldberg was positive amid the Omicron surge. The co-hosts also take absences in instances of "close contact," with Haines taking one, like Behar is now, in January.
Despite the hurdles, the show, known for its lively political debates, has welcomed a steady rotation of guests in the studio in front of a live audience. Michael Bublé was there Friday to chat with the show's skeleton crew.