NEW YORK (AP) — Elisabeth Hasselbeck left “The View” after a decade on Wednesday, showing no hard feelings toward her colleagues even though her political views made for some awkward and heated exchanges on the daytime chat fest over the years.
Her exit came less than 24 hours after it was announced that Hasselbeck will join Fox News Channel and the “Fox & Friends” morning show in September.
Fellow cast member Joy Behar joked about Hasselbeck being a “fish out of water” on the Fox show, which is popular with conservatives. Hasselbeck, who appeared at the Republican National Convention in 2008, usually found herself outnumbered on “The View” when she offered conservative political opinions.
On Wednesday, she thanked the show’s executive producer, Bill Geddie, for challenging her and telling her to “never be fearful of voicing my opinion.”
Hasselbeck warmly thanked all of her colleagues. She said she calculated that she spent some 3,000 days working with show creator Barbara Walters, an experience that was like a master’s class in communications and journalism. She said Whoopi Goldberg was as loving as she was talented and that she had “an insane amount of respect” for Behar.
“I even like it when Joy has been able to throw a one-liner in and make me laugh even when I don’t want to,” she said.
Behar said their debates added excitement to the show and “we were never mad at each other.”
The show’s other cast member, Sherri Shepherd, was away on Wednesday. The popular ABC show also faces the loss of Behar this fall. Walters, its creator, is retiring from television next year. Although former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy is widely considered a top candidate to join the show, Walters said Wednesday that the show will take its time naming replacements. There will be a series of guest hosts, a process that often amounts to on-air auditions.
Stories about Hasselbeck’s departure first started appearing in March, when Walters denied them. She also denied reports that people on the show weren’t happy with Hasselbeck because of her politics.
The former “Survivor” contestant and mother of three walked out on set with Walters’ hand around her waist on Wednesday.
“I’m a little teary, but I always want what’s best for you,” Walters said. “You know how I feel about you.
“I’m happy that you’re going,” Walters said, quickly catching herself. “No, I’m not happy that you’re going. I’m happy that it’s good for you.”
At the show’s end, Hasselbeck sat unsmiling as Behar made a joke about Walters being a lesbian and attracted to Hasselbeck. She was clear-eyed as Walters appeared near tears telling her to “enjoy the view” at Fox.