Why All of These Hosts Really Left The View

From Meghan McCain to Candace Cameron Bure to Rosie O'Donnell, we’re investigating why The View has had a revolving door of hosts over the years.

By Tierney Bricker Oct 27, 2021 10:00 AMTags

Thousands of Hot Topics. Twenty-five seasons. Twenty-two hosts. One headline after another.

The View dealing with host drama? Must be a day that ends in Y. ABC's long-running daytime chatfest one again finds itself at the center of controversy after former co-host Meghan McCain alleged she was "bullied" out of her job, claiming in her memoir Bad Republican that The View had a "toxic" environment that "breeds drama." (In response, an ABC spokesperson told E! News that The View fosters a "collaborative and supportive" environment.)

Of course, McCain is far from the first host to stage a shocking exit from Barbara Walter's brainchild, which has welcomed more than 20 permanent personalities at the table since its debut in 1999.

Star Jones infamously announced her departure on-air, while Elisabeth Hasselbeck tried to quit during a commercial break long before her official exit. Oh, and who can forget that Rosie O'Donnell abruptly left the daytime show not one, but twice?  

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Meghan McCain's Hair Transformations on The View

So, why have all The View hosts really left over the years? And what have they said about the series since their exits? Here's the real stories behind the show's biggest departures.

Meghan McCain

The daughter of late senator John McCain officially joined the table as a permanent co-host in 2017 and often engaged in heated debates with co-stars over the course of her four-year tenure

After stepping down from the conservative seat in August, McCain has not held back about her own experience on the long-running show, calling the environment "toxic."

"For whatever reason, there's a deep level of misogyny about the way The View is covered and written about in the media, where tabloids are always writing about the co-hosts hating each other backstage," she said in her book, Bad Republican. "It's a self-fulfilling prophecy because the atmosphere of The View breeds drama: producers can't control hosts, manage conflict or control leaking. My take on the show is that working at The View brings out the worst in people. I believe that all the women and the staff are working under conditions where the culture is so f--ked up, it feels like quicksand."

McCain, who welcomed her first daughter, Liberty, with husband Ben Domenech in September 2020, opened up in her memoir about suffering from postpartum anxiety, revealing she ultimately decided it was time to leave following an on-air incident with co-host Joy Behar in January of this year.

Rosie O'Donnell

The actress has the distinction of being the only host to leave the show twice, first exiting in 2007 following an infamous on-air debate with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, when they debated the meaning of the word "terrorist," and then again in 2015 just five months after rejoining the table

O'Donnell addressed her initial one-season stint on The Oprah Winfrey Show, explaining, "I didn't want to argue for a living. I didn't come back because the director and the producer did a split screen, and they had to prepare that in advance. I felt there was setup egging me into that position."

While rumors swirled at the time of her second departure that tension with Whoopi Goldberg led to her quick exit, O'Donnell later revealed she was "minimizing" her stress by leaving after suffering a heart attack and announcing her split from wife Michelle Rounds.

In 2019, O'Donnell confirmed the reports about her feud with Goldberg in the tell-all book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View.

"Whoopi Goldberg was as mean as anyone has ever been on television to me, personally—while I was sitting there," O'Donnell told author Ramin Setoodeh. "Worse than Fox News. The worst experience I've ever had on live television was interacting with her."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck

The Survivor finalist spent a decade as the show's conservative host, exiting the series in 2013 to join Fox and Friends. "The past 10 years have been nothing short of extraordinary," she said at the time. 

But in 2019, explosive unreleased audio was published by Variety that revealed Hasselbeck tried to quit the show in 2006 after an on-air fight with  Barbara Walters about the morning-after pill being made available over the counter. During a commercial break, Hasselbeck said, "What the f--k! I don't even swear. She has me swearing. This woman is driving me nuts. I'm not going back. I can't do the show like this. She just reprimanded me, and she knew exactly what she was doing. Goodbye! I'm off. Write about that in the New York f--king Post!"

She would ultimately return to the table and remained a host until 2013 and she responded to the recording on social media, writing in part on Instagram, "This. Just. In: I am quite humanly reactive. I used bad words when frustrated. I was pregnant with Taylor and a big conversation about the value and the lives of the unborn took place at the View. It was a battle—but not of the flesh. I used fighting words because I believe that God decides the value of the lives of babies."

Star Jones

One of the show's original hosts, Jones revealed on air in 2006 that she was leaving The View much to the surprise of Walters, who later said she was caught off guard by the announcement. Her shocking announcement came after her contract was not renewed, with Jones later admitting, "It was a bad emotional time. I made the decision that I wanted to go out on my own terms so that if I walked back here I'd feel good about it."

During her time on the show, Jones received flack for her decision to initially stay mum on her 2003 gastric-bypass surgery, explaining during her 2012 return appearance on The View that she was not "emotionally ready" to discuss her "private way" of losing 160 pounds.

Candace Cameron Bure

During the Oct. 13 episode of The View's special podcast series, Behind The Table, the Fuller House alum opened up about her experience serving as a co-host in seasons 19 and 20, which aired in 2015 and 2016.

"The stress and the anxiety—I actually have a pit in my stomach right now," Bure admitted. "There was only one type of stress that I've ever felt in my life, that came from that show. And I [have] PTSD, like, I can feel it. It was so difficult, and to manage that emotional stress was very, very hard."

The Hallmark Channel mainstay explained that she felt "enormous pressure" to represent conservatives on the larger scale of national television, adding, "[I was] just trying to understand and have a general grasp of topics that I didn't want to talk about or didn't care about."

When Bure announced her departure from The View in December 2016, she cited prior commitments, which included filming Fuller House for Netflix around the same time. And the star ultimately has no regrets about her time at the table, saying she "really grew" during those two seasons. Noted Bure, "I felt like after walking away, if I can do that, I can do anything."

Sherri Shepherd

After seven seasons as a co-host, Shepherd made her final appearance in August 2014 in an episode dedicated to her time on the show

Saying she was "so extremely and profoundly grateful" for her experience, Shepherd said, "I tell people, 'Step out of the fear,' because I didn't want to take this job, because I'm not a prosecutor, I don't know anything. I have to say my boss, Barbara Walters, pushed me. I cried in my dressing room for three years saying, 'What am I doing on this table?'"

Behind the scenes, however, a source told The Wrap at the time that Shepherd declined ABC's final offer in contract negotiations.

Jenny McCarthy

After serving as a co-host for just one season, McCarthy exited alongside Shepherd in 2014 after tweeting, "If Sherri goes… I go, too. #sisters."

In the 2019 book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, McCarthy claimed the producers tried to "change" her to make her more like Hasselbeck. 

"I would literally have meetings before the show of them trying to input opinions in me to go against Whoopi," McCarthy alleged. "I was going to work crying. I couldn't be myself. Every day I went home and I was miserable. It really was the most miserable I've been on a job in my 25 years of show business."

McCarthy also claimed Walters would "check out" what she was wearing and sometimes make her change and that the TV legend once screamed at her in a dressing room.  

Meredith Vieira

After serving as the show's moderator from the time it premiered in 1997, Vieira announced in 2006 she would be leaving The View to replace Katie Couric on Today.

Raven Symoné

After sitting at the table for two seasons, Symoné announced she was giving up her seat in October 2016, citing her move to Los Angeles to film Raven's Home, a sequel series to her Disney Channel hit That's So Raven

 "I'm excited and sad, but mostly excited. I have an announcement to make: No, I'm not pregnant," she joked at the time. "I've had such a great time...I've learned so much, and I've been saying, my experience has been multidimensional."

While she engaged in some disagreements with her co-hosts, Symoné told E! News that she always had fun.

"That's what I love about it...I can express it," she explained. "You can express it and we can disagree but we can move on and hug later. I love that."

Lisa Ling

The CNN commentator originally co-hosted The View from 1999 to 2002, joining the show at just 26 years old. Fun fact: Her audition included a live on-air interview, in which former host Vieira asked her whether or not she was a virgin. Ling ultimately left to host MSNBC's National Geographic Explorer.

"Some three years ago, when, after a long search, we were fortunate enough to have Lisa join us,' Walters said at the time of Ling's exit, "and I said, 'You should stay with us about three years, we know you want to be a reporter. And then you should think about spreading your wings.' And unfortunately, she took our advice."

In September, Ling made a surprise return to the table and looked back fondly on her time as a co-host. "I learned so much on this show from my mother figures and my co-hosts, who were more experienced than me," she said. 

Jedediah Bila

Bila served as the show's conservative host for seasons 20 and 21 before announcing her exit on-air in a September 2017 episode.

Explaining she was swamped with writing a book and planning a wedding, Bila called working on The View "a really great experience."

"I want to thank these ladies. What you don't know about us is that we're really friends," she continued. "I want to thank you because I'm a little eccentric, and you put up with me, and this has been an amazing journey."

And during a recent interview on the Behind the Table podcast, Bila recalled facing questions about the workplace environment from the media. 

"They were very surprised that I didn't trash the show," she explained, "because my experience was actually really good." She went on to say, "There was not one fight that we had off-set. There was not one close to argument. There was zero."

Debbie Matenopoulos

At just 22 years old, Matenopoulos is still the show's youngest co-host and was one of the original stars. During her two-year stint, she hosted her own "Dare Debbie" segment in which she took part in a series of dares, and became a favorite target of Saturday Night Live.

In an episode of Behind the Table, Matenopoulos—who went on to host Crown Media's Home & Family—called her time on The View simultaneously "the most stressful time" and "the best experience of my life."

"If you [can do] live television and hold your own with the most renowned journalist in the world, with a comedian who's done it forever," she explained, "you can do anything."

Rosie Perez

The Do The Right Thing actress only served as a co-host for 10 months before leaving the talk show in July 2015 in order to star in Larry David's Broadway play Fish in the Dark.

Though she served up a tearful goodbye when she announced her exit on-air, Perez was ready to move on, telling E! News at the time, "Be happy for me. I feel like I made the right decision to move on and I'm going to miss the girls and I'm going to miss the audience, but it's going to be OK."

Perez added that she was "really surprised" by how much her time on The View taught her about her character. 

How much I could endure and how I had to get over my shyness," she explained. "Believe it or not, I'm very shy and sitting in front of a live audience every single day is very different from performing in front of a live audience because you have that fourth wall on stage where that fourth wall does not exist on television on a TV talk show. So it taught me a lot."

Michelle Collins

The comedian first joined The View as a guest host in early 2015 following Rosie O'Donnell's exit and became a full-time co-host. But her tenure was short-lived, with producers choosing not to bring her back after just one season.

"Hi everyone, Well, the news is out: I'm leaving The View. Yes, I'm officially the newest member of the 'One Seasoner' club, the latest graduate of talk show boot camp, ending what has been, simply put, the most surreal and fabulous year of my life," Collins wrote on Instagram at the time. "I want to say a big thanks to EVERYONE at the show...They're an incredibly hardworking group of talented people. Special thanks to Whoopi for always having my back, and, you know, being an icon. And to all of you: I see your tweets, I see your messages, and I'm sending you all the heart emojis. Many exciting things await, can't wait to share everything with you!"

Nicolle Wallace

Wallace exited the series in 2015 after just one season, saying at the time, "I have loved being a part of this table I have loved sitting in this chair and it was never mine, but I'm lucky I got to occupy it for a little bit." At the time, she revealed to Variety that she found out about her firing by reading about it in the press. 

And in an interview with the L.A. Times last year, Wallace admitted that being fired The View felt "like being broken up with."

She went on to explain that "the problem" during her run was that "it wasn't contentious" and that she didn't argue with her co-hosts enough. 

Paula Faris

In 2018, Faris left  both The View (after three seasons) and Good Morning America's weekend edition (after four years), though she remained at ABC News.

"Excited/grateful for the opportunity to cover big stories & talk to the people at the center of them," she tweeted at the time. "Thank you to the gracious teams at @GMA Sat./Sun. and @TheView Not going far but I'll miss you. However, I won't miss that 3am wake up on weekends! ;)"

But in an interview with Good Housekeeping, Faris revealed she went through "months of hell" before making the decision to change her career, including the launch of her faith-based podcast.

"I had a miscarriage, [and] I had a concussion—someone threw something at my head when I was doing a live shot and that knocked me out of work for three weeks," she revealed. "[Then] the day I got cleared to go to work, I got in a head-on car crash. A couple of months later I got influenza, and influenza turned into pneumonia."

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