"The View," a daytime TV pillar and until last month headed by a TV legend, has come undone: ABC and its production partners on the franchise late Thursday fired Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy, leaving just Whoopi Goldberg, who joined the show in 2007, as the only current castmember.
"The View will be moving in an exciting new direction next season and ABC has made decisions to evolve the show creatively," said ABC in a statement, first posted on Broadcastingcable.com which broke the story late Thursday.
Meanwhile, the show -- which is on hiatus but will return July 7 -- disputed an early report, including this one, that both had been technically "fired." Both will complete the season, according to a spokesman, which wraps in August.
The bombshell was at least half of a surprise: McCarthy been considered vulnerable almost since she joined as Elisabeth Hasselbeck's replacement. She arrived in a flurry of controversy -- advocating so-called "chelation therapy," or the removal of heavy metals from the body in lieu of vaccination, as a preventive measure for autism -- and never seemed to click with the staff.
Shepherd, however, was unexpected. The former sitcom actress first joined the show in 2006 as a guest, then was named co-host in 2007.
"It's been seven wonderful years on 'The View' and after careful consideration, it is time for me to move on. I am extremely grateful to Barbara Walters and ["The View" producer] Bill Geddie for giving me the opportunity. I look forward to the business opportunities that lay ahead for me and I am incredibly grateful to my 'View' family and my fans for supporting me on this journey," she said in a statement.
"My 'View' will be changing, too. As will with many hard working folks," McCarthy tweeted. "Thanks to everyone at the show for your dedication and an amazing year."
According to reports -- never refuted -- both Hasselbeck and Joy Behar had also been pushed off the show last season. Ratings have indeed softened for "The View," now in its 17th season, but they haven't exactly cratered either. (About three or so million on any given day.) But key ratings -- young adults -- and other critical metrics, notably "buzz factor," have indeed plummeted. "The View" is simply no longer a factor, or "the factor" it once was.