She stays!

Or "maybe she stays."

Or -- "hey, nothing's forever, including the cushiest gig on TV."

Take your choice, but "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck -- twisting in the tabloid breeze during the weekend -- clearly got what she wanted Monday: A sign of support from the only one you need support from on "The View." Sort of.

"There's a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up that says we don't approve of her conservative views," said Barbara Walters on yesterday's show. "The truth is, we love Elisabeth. But beyond that, we value and appreciate her point of view. She gives this show perspective and balance, and she's tougher than she looks. There are no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show."

Then she added this: "Having said that to all of you, [executive producer] Bill [Geddie] and I have always said that when one of you makes the choice to leave, that's your choice, and we will support your decision."

Uh oh.

In the TV reporting trade, we call that "plausible deniability" when the firing officially does happen.

Will it? Who knows, but clearly something amiss is going on at TV's favorite, now fading kaffeeklatsch. Joy Behar leaves this summer, and rumors even hint at Walters' eventual departure. "The View" has gotten older, duller and more predictable. There is no longer an "x factor" here -- that used to be, say, Rosie O'Donnell -- or someone who with one ill-advised remark could turn this into a mud fight.

Middle of the road and oh-so-polite/nice to the celebrity of the moment who waltzes through on the promotional circuit, "The View" has been missing these of late: passion, unpredictability, newsworthiness . . .

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Maybe all the panelists should be looking over their shoulders.