Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the house conservative at "The View" who has clashed - memorably - with her various co-hosts over the years, is now heading to a warmer clime: "Fox & Friends," where she will replace Gretchen Carlson in the fall.
ABC has confirmed Hasselbeck's last day is tomorrow, and Fox has finally confirmed Hassselbeck's appointment as well:
Fox News chief Roger Ailes said in a statement: "Elisabeth’s warm and engaging personality made her a star on “The View”. She has proven to be an excellent conversationalist and I am certain she will make a great addition to our already successful morning franchise.”
She'll start in September. (Meanwhile, if you've gotten this far in the piece, you are obviously interested in the subject - so do check out my critical assessment of Hasselbeck, and feel free to disagree; I know you will...)
Oh yes, indeed, this is a surprise - especially for Fox, which moves (and replaces) marquee personalities about as often as England changes monarchs. Plus "F&F" - even though gleeful fodder for comedians and a certain late night live program on NBC which usually airs on Saturday nights - remains the most-viewed cable morning show, though Ailes must have felt the hot breath of competition (or decline) from some direction.
There were reports months ago that Hasselbeck was leaving "The View" at the end of this summer; they were hotly denied by Barbara Walters and ABC. Didn't matter; no one believed them anyway.
But in a statement a few minutes ago, Walters said this: “When Elisabeth survived ‘Survivor’ we wanted to make sure she would stay afloat. We have had ten wonderful years with Elisabeth and she will now be swimming in new waters. We will miss her and wish her everything good.”
And here's ABC's parting farewell:
“For a decade, Elisabeth Hasselbeck has brought her passion and strong beliefs to “The View.” We watched her journey from newlywed to motherhood, an Emmy® Award-winning talk show host, author, entrepreneur and activist. 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.”
Barbara is leaving next year; Joy Behar will be gone by the end of this season. And maybe, just maybe, Jenny McCarthy will be joining the show this fall. (At this juncture, I'd normally write, "stay tuned," except that sounds like a very bad cliche, so...just check back here in a few days...)
Meanwhile, Carlson will take on a daytime role in the fall - as host of an hour "signature" show, per Fox - possibly filling one of those hours about to be vacated by Megyn Kelly, who is expected to become host of a new 10 p.m. show when she returns from maternity leave? If so, this could be a reasonably good move for Carlson, who joined seven years ago and - despite the blistering diatribes from Jon Stewart - helped to turn this thing into a big franchise for Fox News.
Here's her semi-upbeat statement:
“I am excited to further advance my career and am thrilled to have the opportunity to host my own show in daytime and look forward to showcasing my skills as an interviewer and journalist in a more in depth manner.”