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Did ‘The View’ Just Lose Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck?

Joy Behar confirmed her exit and reports say Elisabeth Hasselbeck will join her. Ramin Setoodeh on what this means for the ABC gabfest.

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During its 16-year run, The View has had its share of ups (reintroducing the world to Meredith Vieira) and downs (Star Jones and all her wedding freebies, Rosie O'Donnell imploding on live TV, Sherri Shepherd not knowing that the world is round, etc). But with news today that two of The View’s hosts are leaving at the end of this season—Joy Behar officially announced her exit, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, according to a US Weekly report, will be joining her—the future of one of daytime’s longstanding gabfests is in question.

In January, Barbara Walters, 83, suffered from a rare case of chickenpox, leaving her View perch for six weeks. In her place, the show rotated a series of guest co-hosts—Brooke Shields, Melissa Joan Hart, and (weirdest of all) Cyndi Lauper—but the panel’s chemistry wasn’t the same without its ringleader. When Walters returned on Monday (to a surprise appearance by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, presenting her with a bouquet of flowers), it looked like The View was back on track. The ladies even landed a scoop, from guest Regis Philbin, who reluctantly revealed his new job—as an anchor on the new Fox Sports network.

This current incarnation of The View, which started in 2007, has experienced some of the show’s best ratings and exclusives. The co-hosts have landed big interviews with the President and First Lady, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber. Ever since Oprah ended her historic talk show in 2010, daytime hasn’t fully recovered. That might be because TV is more fragmented now. The industry giants (Ellen, Kelly and Michael) are still doing well, but it’s been challenging for new acts to breakthrough. This season, talks show by Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake were promptly cancelled. Anderson Cooper's daytime show is ending after only two seasons.

What’s unique about The View’s longevity is that unlike The Oprah Winfrey Show, which continued with its star forever, The View has experienced a lot of turnover. After Behar leaves, Walters will be the only co-host remaining from the original panel that launched in 1997 with Vieira, Star Jones (who was fired in 2006) and Debbie Matenopoulis (who was fired in 1999; remember her from the Saturday Night Live parodies?). Lisa Ling and Rosie O’Donnell also sat in as co-hosts.

Maybe one of them could come back?