Elisabeth Hasselbeck returns to ‘The View’: Can the OG conservative save the show?

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121 shares, 182 points

She’s the tough-talking, God-fearing Republican who’s never been afraid to take on Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar — so can Elisabeth Hasselbeck take a little time to save “The View”?

The 45-year-old pundit — who previously co-hosted the ABC gabfest from 2003 to 2013 — is set to return to the show Wednesday, Aug. 3, asking viewers to “pray for me” as she steps back into the embattled liberal lion’s den. 

Hasselbeck was “The View’s” OG conservative co-host during her 10-year tenure on the program, clashing with her co-stars and transforming the daytime show into a pop culture juggernaut. 

And while her return is currently being billed as “temporary,” fans are already calling for the Nashville-based blonde to be permanently reinstalled in the conservative seat that she singlehandedly created. 

It’s no secret that “The View” producers have been struggling to find the right Republican to fill said seat after it was vacated by self-proclaimed “mountain mama” Meghan McCain last year. Ratings have been sagging without a right-leaning co-host, compounded by embarrassing missteps from Goldberg and Behar — and Hasselbeck could help bring back eyeballs.

‘Hasselbeck walked so Candace Cameron Buré could run so Alyssa Farrah Griffin could fly.’

One diehard fan rallying for her permanent return to the panel

ABC will officially name the new conservative co-host on Thursday, one day after Hasselbeck’s return — and her team is only fueling rumors that she could be a contender. 

“This is the same woman who threw herself into the middle of the Australian Outback [on “Survivor”], survived 10 years at “The View,” and then joined the Fox News Team,” Hasselbeck’s rep told The Post. “I would say nothing is off the table when it comes to her taking on new adventures.”

Meanwhile, an ABC spokesperson refused to be drawn on whether execs are looking to bring back the blonde on a full-time basis.

Ramin Setoodeh — author of of the exposé “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View’” — says daytime viewers are likely wondering what Hasselbeck is doing now.

“I think people are curious about what she’s up to … and the show could definitely use some buzz,” Setoodeh, co-editor-in-chief of Variety, told The Post.

However, Setoodeh’s well-placed sources have told him that ABC has already tapped ex-Trump communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin to take the coveted seat for the show’s next season, which kicks off after Labor Day. The Post previously reported that she would likely be named the new host, with set insiders maintaining that an announcement would be revealed before the show’s current 25th season ends.

Farah Griffin, 33, has been guest co-hosting the program on a regular basis this year, but critics claim she is too “boring” and “polite” to keep the show in the headlines.

Hasselbeck, however, has never been afraid to go toe-to-toe with “The View” vets Goldberg and Behar, and small-screen showdowns could bring back needed viewers.

Longtime fans of the show certainly agree, with several taking to Twitter thrilled by Hasselbeck’s return.

“Too bad she can’t be the permanent conservative co-host. Would love that!” one cooed after hearing of her return.

“I’d prefer Hasselbeck over Farah Griffin, Farah Griffin worked for Commander Crazy Pants and that says it all for me, pass,” another chimed in

“Elisabeth Hasselbeck walked so Candace Cameron Buré could run so Alyssa Farrah Griffin could fly,” another claimed.

Hasselbeck shot to fame back in 2001 as a contestant on “Survivor: Australian Outback,” before she was chosen by Barbara Walters to join “The View” two years later.

The blonde quickly found her form and didn’t hold back with her hot takes on the Bush and Obama presidencies. She also became a vociferous defender of Republican principles and policies.

At the “Hot Topics” table, the co-host frequently fought with Goldberg and Behar and was involved in an infamous split-screen showdown with Rosie O’Donnell that has become one of daytime’s defining moments.

Hasselbeck was fired in 2013, with producers wanting to change up the show’s cast. However, they subsequently spent years trying and failing to bring in a conservative who captivated audiences in the same way that Hasselbeck did.

Cameron Buré, Nicole Wallace and Jedediah Bila were all recruited to provide a right-leaning perspective, but they couldn’t generate the same fireworks,

Hasselbeck (far left ) wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with her liberal co-hosts on “The View.” She is pictured in 2006.

In 2017, Meghan McCain was brought in to fill the conservative seat. For four seasons, she was able to bring “The View” back to its Hasselbeck-era glory days, setting social media alight as she squabbled with her other co-stars.

McCain exited the show last year, vowing never to return, but Hasselbeck has never ruled it out. However, producers may be wary about bringing her back — even if she could bring ratings with her.

Setoodeh’s sources told him that “there was talk at ABC News of bringing Hasselbeck back to ‘The View’ when Abby Huntsman left in 2020” but that she “derailed her chances when she came on as a guest host in the early days of the pandemic and minimized the dangers of COVID-19.”

Hasselbeck is seen returning to “The View” for an interview in 2019. She has not been a permanent co-host in almost a decade.

“The View’” currently stars co-hosts Behar, Goldberg, Sara Haines and Sunny Hostin. Republican commentator Ana Navarro co-hosts on Fridays. All five women will reportedly return to “The View” for the show’s 26th season, with Farah Griffin likely to be named the new conservative.

However, the news of her casting has not gone down well behind the scenes at ABC, according to a report.

“Her soon-to-be co-hosts are very upset,” an insider told Daily Mail. “They feel she isn’t authentic and changes her opinions based on who her paymaster is.”

Some cast and crew are said to be particularly upset that Farah Griffin has been cast given that she worked at the Trump White House.

“Ana Navarro especially feels let down as they are hiring someone who was an essential part of the movement that destabilized this country,” the insider claimed.

Alyssa Farah Griffin looks set to become the new conservative co-hosts. ABC reps told The Post to "stay tuned" on an announcement.
Alyssa Farah Griffin looks set to become the new conservative co-host. ABC reps told The Post to “stay tuned” on an announcement.

Farah Griffin has since disowned Trump and publicly stated that she regrets working for the former commander-in-chief. On “The View,” she has insisted that Trump not be allowed to run for the White House ever again.

The pundit’s change of heart has left her estranged from her hard-core Trump-supporter father, who refused to attend her wedding earlier this year.

“Alyssa’s family is also problematic. Her father, Joseph, founded WorldNetDaily, a website that promotes conspiracy theories. It’s terrifying,” the source told Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, Farah Griffin could cost “The View” celebrity guests. Last month, comedian Wanda Sykes reportedly nixed an appearance on the program when realizing Farah Griffin was guest hosting the show. The funnywoman was said to have been opposed to appearing alongside a former Trump staffer — even if that person had since disowned the former president.

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