Everybody’s, well, I don’t want to say favourite conservative, but the most animated for daytime TV is/was Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The former Survivor contestant became even more famous after she joined ABC’s The View and was the frequent ying to the common yang, disagreeing with almost anything mainstream people believed or stood for.
Naturally Hasselbeck’s 10-year tenure on the Barbara Walters-created chat show came to an end when Hasselbeck found a home at Fox News — a network that stands by Hasselbeck’s often-controversial opinions.
There were rumblings earlier this year that Hasselbeck was getting fired and that her contract wasn’t being renewed. At the time, Walters went on the record decrying the rumours and gossip as just that: baseless chatter.
Where The View often discusses emotionally charged political debate, CBS’s The Talk is the more mom-friendly light-hearted laugh-fest that The View is not. But something that has always worked in The View’s favour is that controversy.
Having former co-host Rosie O’Donnell battle it out with Hasselbeck was ratings gold — especially when Hasselbeck cried when it came to verbal fisticuffs.
It led people to wonder who producers would bring on to replace the blonde punching bag. Well, naturally, another blonde punching bag: Jenny McCarthy.
McCarthy, a former Playboy Playmate, author of a parenting book, a game show host and outspoken critic of child vaccines, has already had opposition and she is still a month or so from taking her seat at the ABC table.
Knowing what I know about TV production, ABC is not worried about the potential of having a scandalous host because, look, people are already buzzing about it leading up to McCarthy’s arrival. And what does that mean for ABC? It is stealing the spotlight from The Talk and putting more attention on The View.
And considering long-time favourites Joy Behar (who chatted for my syndicated radio shows earlier this week) and Barbara Walters are on the way out, it’s not surprising producers and the network are pulling out all the stops to get people talking. It’s working now but the real test is when it comes to calculating the ratings this fall. Stay tuned!