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“I’m really happy,” said a misty-eyed Hasselbeck, going on to thank executive producer Bill Geddie for “really challenging me to be my best.”
“The past 10 years have been nothing short of extraordinary,” she raved.
As previously reported, the departing View co-host is headed to Fox News Channel, where she will join the panel of Fox & Friends in September.
Hasselbeck — surrounded by Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and show creator Barbara Walters – heaped much praise upon the trio and panelist Sherri Shepherd, who was not present for Wednesday’s broadcast. The 36-year-old mother of three, whose politics skew rightward, said she had an “insane amount of respect” for the relatively liberal Behar, with whom she has sparred on the air.
Meanwhile, she gushed over Goldberg, saying: “You are walking unconditional love” and “one of the most talented artists on the planet.” Of Walters, Hasselbeck declared, “I can’t ask for a better leader and mentor.”
She credited Walters, who recently announced she will retire next year, for teaching her the technique of interviewing. As a result of her experience with the TV news icon, “I felt prepared to interview presidential candidates” and “more than prepared and confident to move forward.”
Returning the compliments, Walters — whose eyes welled with tears for almost the entire telecast — said, “I’m a little teary, but I always want what’s best for you.” She then admitted, laughing: “I’m not happy that you’re going.”
“You always brought a fresh voice to the show, you stood by your opinions even when [the debate] got heated — that’s not an easy thing to do,” said Walters, informing viewers that The View would not be filling Hasselbeck’s seat anytime soon.
Hasselbeck’s exit was expected as part of a View makeover that also sees the departure of Behar. Her jump to Fox & Friends has her teaming with current co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade while Gretchen Carlson — who’s been with the program since 2006 — moves to her own one-hour daytime series to launch in early fall.
“Fox, gee, won’t you be a fish out of water there?” cracked Behar, praising Hasselbeck as “professional” and calling their on-air arguments “exciting.”
“I just think you’re the cat’s meow,” said Goldberg, chiming in. “You’ve been a really good friend to me, and I appreciate you. And, you know, may we both continue to grow.”
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