Report: 'View' producers hope to 'coax' Elizabeth Hasselbeck into quitting

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   March 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM   |   Comments

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March 18 (UPI) -- Though Barbara Walters firmly denied reports that she and co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck were leaving "The View" last week, The New York Post's Page Six reported Sunday that the show's sole conservative voice "is toast," according to various sources.

ABC started "The View" shakeup in an attempt to avoid frequent political debates an audience study deemed too "polarizing," the Hollywood Reporter said last week.

“ABC is desperate to freshen the show. Ratings are going soft, and research numbers on the stars’ likability are scaring network execs," a source told the Post.

Long-time co-host Joy Behar announced her departure on last Monday's episode saying she wanted to "explore other opportunities." Now, producers want to "coax" Hasselbeck to leave early in attempt to "young-up" the show.

"Dumping Joy 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. Some enemies she has on the show saw their chance to get back at her. Barbara was spitting mad that it got mishandled, and called off the firing over [last] weekend."

Christie Brinkley and George Stephanopoulos’ wife Ali Wentworth are apparently in line for Behar's empty hosting gig.

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