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On Friday, we learned that Joy Behar is leaving The View, which is a big deal, considering she's been co-hosting the show for over 16 years. Over the weekend, however, the plot has thickened -- and rumor has it that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is leaving too, possibly followed by (gasp!) Barbara Walters herself. What is going on over there?
Before you change the channel, let's take a look at what we know for sure versus what's being generated by the rumor mill.
FACT: Joy Behar is leaving. Shortly after Deadline broke the news of her departure, ABC confirmed it in a statement. Behar -- who is, after all, 70 years old! -- is expected to stay the rest of the season, and disclosed her reasons on Monday's episode. She also told Deadline that she's planning to focus on her Current TV talk show and comedy career.
RUMOR: Elisabeth Hasselbeck has been fired. Reports in Us Weekly and Star claim that the show's resident right-winger has been let go, because a viewers' poll rated her "too extreme" to be likeable.
FACT: Both ABC and series co-creator Barbara Walters deny that Elisabeth is leaving. "Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a valued member of The View and has a long term contract," the network told Us in a statement. “We love Elisabeth,” Walters said at the top of Monday's episode. “We value and appreciate her point of view. It helps give the show perspective. We have no plans for Elisabeth to leave this show.”
RUMOR: Barbara Walters is retiring from The View. The show's 83-year-old creator and star is reportedly debating whether she should step down, too. The Daily News reports that they've been getting mixed messages from Walters' camp on this issue -- but given her age, a retirement announcement at some point seems inevitable.
RUMOR: Brooke Shields is the next co-host. The model-turned-actress, who is both brainy and opinionated, is reportedly a top choice to replace one of the departed hosts. Sounds good to us!
FACT: The Talk is gaining on The View. The competing chat show, which airs on CBS, has recently been matching The View's ratings among women. Could this be why The View is shaking things up?
So far, it looks like Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd are definitely staying put. But even if half the View hosts jump ship, it's worth remembering that the show has survived major casting changes before. There was a time, don't forget, when we didn't think The View would survive the departure of Meredith Vieira!