After two hosts of The View tested positive for COVID-19 while on the air—causing mid-broadcast chaos, generating national headlines, and angering the office of Vice President Kamala Harris, who was waiting backstage—someone had to take the fall. That person appears to have been the show’s in-house nurse.
Multiple people familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast that, following the on-air fiasco late last month, the daytime talk show ditched its “health and safety manager” Wendy Livingston, whom the program affectionately referred to as “Nurse Wendy” and once labeled a “health-care hero” during an effusive tribute.
Prior to the televised meltdown, which featured hosts Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin being abruptly yanked off-air minutes before a live interview with the vice president, Livingston oversaw The View’s regular testing of all personnel as well as its adherence to coronavirus protocols. But the registered nurse has since stopped performing her medical duties with the show, two people with knowledge of the matter said, though she remains a network employee.
“Wendy has not been fired,” an ABC spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “She remains a part of the health & safety team supporting testing and vaccine verification.”
CNN reported that Harris’ office required all of the show’s hosts to take a PCR test within 24 hours of the vice president’s live, on-set interview. The tests all came back negative, and so, according to CNN, The View’s representatives gave the White House the “all clear” that the show met their requirements for Harris to appear. The White House reportedly felt “duped” and angered by how the scare unfolded with the veep in tow.
But then, mid-show, Navarro and Hostin were pulled from the set, leaving co-hosts Joy Behar and Sara Haines scrambling to fill airtime after announcing that their fully vaccinated colleagues had tested positive. Harris was backstage, mere moments away from joining the cast at their roundtable set.
The vice president did eventually appear on the program, but did so remotely from another room. Harris’ office was “deeply concerned” about the incident, CNN reported, and ABC News President Kim Godwin, who attended the taping, was allegedly “irked and embarrassed by the whole fiasco.” The mishap was made worse by the fact that Hostin and Navarro tested negative multiple times after what later appeared to have been a false positive at the center of the chaos.
Ultimately, it appears, the show’s executives determined that Livingston had to be removed from The View.
The following Monday, after returning to the show, Hostin became a bit emotional while recounting for viewers the “real-life ramifications” of the live-on-TV coronavirus scare: It was a “triggering” event, she said, adding that her husband, a surgeon, “had to be pulled out of the operating room” and her children taken out of class because of her newsmaking false-positive.
A person familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast that Hostin was “furious” not only because of the testing flub’s impact on her family but because it meant revealing her personal medical information without her authorization.
While Livingston is apparently no longer the show’s nurse of choice, she was honored on-air for National Nurses Week back in May 2021. A four-minute video segment touted her as The View’s “health-care hero,” with glowing testimonials from the cast and crew.
“She is our own Florence Nightingale,” Behar said in the tribute. Livingston kept “The View family safe and sound,” Navarro added. “Thank you so much for keeping us safe this year,” Hostin said, specifically remarking upon the number of COVID-19 tests Livingston had administered.
The nurse, wearing a mask and seated alone in the empty studio, teared up as the praise poured in. The staff gifted her with an electric bike as a token of their appreciation.