Elisabeth Hasselbeck, known as a conservative voice on ABC's morning talk show "The View,"
is reportedly in the process of being fired from the show, an unnamed source told the New York Post.
"ABC is desperate to freshen the show
. Ratings are going soft, and research numbers on the stars’ likability are scaring network execs," the source told the Post's Page Six.
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Hasselbeck is reportedly the next on the chopping block, following Joy Behar's announcement this month
that she won't be coming back after her contract ends in August.
"Dumping Behar, who was there 16 years, and Hasselbeck would be the fastest way to do it, they decided. After giving Behar the bad news last week and letting her bow out gracefully, someone leaked the Hasselbeck thing," the source said. "Some enemies she has on the show saw their chance to get back at her. Barbara [Walters] was spitting mad that it got mishandled, and called off the firing over [last] weekend."
Rumors involving Hasselbeck's departure
have been circulating for weeks, prompting Walters to address the issue on the show
"We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show. The truth is we love Elisabeth. I like her personally and she's just a wonderful person . . . But beyond that, we value her point of view," Walters said.
Hasselbeck's contract is up next year, but the source said the network could try to force her out earlier.
"It could be earlier, because the ABC brass believes the show needs to be younged-up fast. They easily could coax her to go early," the source said.
Hasselbeck, who doesn't describe herself as a conservative, joined "The View" in 2003 and has endorsed Republican politicians like former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. At the same time, she has defended first lady Michelle Obama.
Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and Sherri Shepherd host the Emmy award-winning show with Hasselbeck.
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Rumored possible replacements for Behar include comedian-actress Ali Wentworth, who is married to "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos, and supermodel/actress Christie Brinkley.
Hasselbeck has not responded to rumors that her time on "The View" is coming to an end.
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