Crew at The View bids Hasselbeck a fond adieu

Posted: July 18, 2013 at 2:53 a.m.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck (center) chats with Barbara Walters on The View. Hasselbeck has left the show and will move to Fox & Friends in the fall.

Free at last.

If you’ve been missing Elisabeth Hasselbeck on ABC’s The View, that’s because the lone conservative panelist bailed out last week.

It looks as if she got out while the gettin’ was good.

The plucky, but long-suffering Hasselbeck more than landed on her feet. Fox News announced last week that it has hired her to replace Gretchen Carlson as co-host on the Fox & Friends morning show.

Fox & Friends, which preaches to the conservative choir, begins at 5 a.m. weekdays and goes for three hours.

Hasselbeck, 36, will start her new duties alongside co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade in mid-September. Carlson will begin anchoring her own daytime show on Fox News in the fall.

Carlson has been with Fox & Friends for seven years and Hasselbeck had been with The View for a decade, frequently coming under criticism for her opinions from her more liberal co-hosts. She won’t have that problem with Fox & Friends.

Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes gushed, “Elisabeth’s warm and engaging personality made her a star on The View. She has proved to be an excellent conversationalist and I am certain she will make a great addition to our already successful morning franchise.”

Is The View disintegrating? Barbara Walters has said she’ll be leaving the show next May, and co-host Joy Behar says she’s out this fall. That will leave only Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd from the current panel.

Walters announced Monday that frequent guest host Jenny McCarthy would join the gang as co-host on Sept. 9.

ABC took the high road about Hasselbeck’s sudden departure. In a news release, the network said, “For a decade, Elisabeth Hasselbeck has brought her passion and strong beliefs to The View. She stood behind her political views even if they were not the most popular opinions at the table, never shying away from voicing a difficult question. We thank Elisabeth and wish her luck as she begins this new chapter of her career.”

What did Walters have to say? After all, she had to quell rumors in March that The View was cutting Hasselbeck loose for being too conservative.

“When Elisabeth survived Survivor we wanted to make sure she would stay afloat,” Walters said in a news release. “We have had 10 wonderful years with her and she will now be swimming in new waters. We will miss her and wish her everything good.”

Survivor? In case you’ve forgotten, America first got to know a young (24) and painfully thin Elisabeth Filarski in 2001 on Survivor: The Australian Outback. (That’s the season the guy fell into the campfire.) She came in fourth.

She didn’t win, but she had already won the heart of NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. The college sweethearts wed in 2002 and a year later she joined The View, replacing Lisa Ling.

All was sweetness and light on Hasselbeck’s final day last week. There were gushing goodbyes and lame jokes attempted, but it was Walters who misted over.

“I’m a little teary,” Walters said, “but I always want what’s best for you. You know how I feel about you.”

There’s more. Meredith Vieira is on the horizon with a syndicated chat show set for fall 2014.

Vieira, one of the original co-hosts of The View, left in 2006 to replace Katie Couric on Today when Couric moved to CBS Evening News.

Vieira left Today in 2011 and the show’s ratings began a slow downhill slide.

Couric now has her own under performing afternoon talk show (Katie) and it’ll be interesting to see if it lasts long enough to go head-to head with The Meredith Vieira Show or if Vieira’s show replaces it.

There’s less. In case you missed the memo, here it is one more time. Hallmark and Marie are divorcing.

Marie Osmond’s daily chat show, cleverly titled Marie, will continue through September before going into syndication in the fall of 2014.

Hallmark told The Associated Press that it “wanted to go in a different direction” with its daytime stuff, opting for lifestyle and how-to shows over chat.

Translation: “Marie ain’t working out. We’re cutting our losses.”

The field of daytime talk shows is strewn with the broken bodies of the fallen. Nobody has really dominated since Oprah departed in 2011, but the current daytime queen is Ellen DeGeneres.

And more. NBC has announced it will air a sequel to the hugely popular History Channel series The Bible. The network will join with The Bible producers Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey (Touched By an Angel), on the project.

The sequel, which has no air date yet, has the working title A.D.: Beyond the Bible and will begin in the days following Jesus’ death.

Program note: Project Runway returns at 7 p.m. today with a special introducing the designers. The new season premieres from 8 to 9:30 on Lifetime.

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Weekend, Pages 30 on 07/18/2013