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Since it first started airing back in 1997, a total 22 co-hosts have been recruited to The View, some sticking around for over a decade and others departing after just a season. Elisabeth Hasselbeck was one of the longer-serving cast members, giving her opinions on the talk show for 10 years. Though her on-air farewell in 2013 kept to the positive, the former co-host has since said that she felt totally blindsided when she was told that her contract would not be renewed. Keep reading to find out why she was so shocked and what producers say led to her departure.
Hasselbeck said she "could not breathe" when she learned of their decision.
"The past 10 years have been nothing short of extraordinary," Hasselbeck said when she announced her departure on air in 2013. "I wish the next person or co-host that sits here an extraordinary set of years to come of their own." She went on to thank her then-colleagues—Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Barbara Walters—for their friendship and support.
But despite the cheery face she put on it, Hasselbeck later revealed that it wasn't her idea to leave the daytime show. In her 2019 book, Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom, (via USA Today), she claimed that she was told by a producer and ABC executive that they wouldn't be renewing her contract because they were "going in a less political direction."
"I could not breathe—literally, could not breathe," Hasselbeck wrote. She said that she "asked permission" to go and get her inhaler. "I was bent over—shock, asthma, and betrayal all stealing my wind," the host added.
She called the choice a "betrayal."
In Point of View, Hasselbeck remembered pleading with her bosses.
'"Was there something I could have done differently?'" she wrote. "Can I do something differently now? If you would just tell me, I would work on that—and make it better'… I kept asking, trying to figure out how to get it back, trying to get it all back."
But, she said that they told her there was nothing she could have done to keep her spot.
"'I have come here and had babies and shared my heart,'" she recalled saying to them. "'I have done my work, and I just don't understand. Why did you not tell me there was something I could have done better, so I could have done that?'" She claimed that she received "blank stares" in response.
Hasselbeck wrote that she spent 90 minutes "just sobbing" that day. "Feeling a dose of betrayal and a whopper of confusion, I felt like the walls of the building were folding in on me," she said.
The host also claimed in her book that producers asked her to return to The View full-time at one point, but that she turned them down. The show has never confirmed this, however.
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Audio has surfaced of Hasselbeck trying to quit the show in 2006.
In April 2019, Variety released an audio recording of Hasselbeck backstage at a 2006 taping of The View, swearing and claiming that she was going to quit the show. During the episode, she got into an argument with Behar and Walters regarding the "morning-after" birth control pill being made available as an over-the-counter medication. While Hasselbeck was speaking, Walters cut in to say that they had to "learn how to discuss these things in some sort of a rational way," before cutting to commercial.
"F*** that! I'm not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air," Hasselbeck says in the recording, before stating several times that she's quitting. Then-producer Bill Geddie tells her to be a professional and return to the set, which she did. Back on the air, Walters and Hasselbeck reconciled.
After it became public, Hasselbeck posted an Instagram response to the leaked recording.
"I used a bad word when frustrated," she wrote. "I was pregnant with Taylor and a big conversation about the value and the lives of the unborn took place at the View."
She returned to The View to promote her book.
Hasselbeck was a guest on The View in 2019, returning for the first time since her hosting days had ended. And the panel didn't shy away from the topic. Behar pointed out that her own contract was also not renewed in 2013, the same year as Hasselbeck was let go. However, she said that she a very different reaction to the information. "I was like, 'Thank you, I really appreciate this moment,'" Behar explained. "And I went on to do two years of very creative work.'" She returned to The View in 2015.
Behar asked Hasselbeck why she "[took] it so hard" when her contract wasn't renewed.
"I was pridefully wounded," Hasselbeck responded. "I was hurt, and I thought, 'Yeah, I'm just trying to do my job for 10 years, and I'm a loyal person."
And has called her former co-workers "family."
During that same guest appearance, Goldberg asked Hasselbeck what it was like to be back. She said that "after a decade" on the show, she felt like she "grew up" there.
"I had babies here. It's like a family," Hasselbeck explained. "So this actually feels really good, I have to say. And I'm thankful. God's been really good to let me come back."
She said that when she started the book, she told herself that she'd never come onto The View to talk about it. But, she added that she "worked on her heart" while writing and ultimately realized how much of a "joy" it would be to come back to discuss her project.