One of ABC’s “The View” co-hosts, Abby Huntsman, 33, announced on Monday that she is leaving her role on the long-running daytime talk show. Huntsman, a former Fox News personality and moderate voice on this show, says that her departure is due to her desire to help her father, former U.S. ambassador to Russia ambassador Jon Huntsman, with his campaign for Utah governor. Her role on her father’s campaign will be as a senior advisor.
Huntsman joined the “The View” at the start of Season 22 in September 2018, with the show currently in its 23rd season. She is expected to have final appearance on Friday, Jan. 17. In a memo obtained by Fox News that was also sent to staffers, Huntsman said her time on the “iconic” show needed to come to an end in order to support her father.
“After much deliberation over the holidays, I have decided to leave the show to dedicate myself full-time in support of my dad and his campaign for Governor of Utah,” Huntsman wrote in a memo to staff. “You know I think the world of all of you … ABC will always hold a special place in my heart, and so will all of you.”
The announcement comes as a surprise to some who didn’t see the departure coming so abruptly. Yet sources say Huntsman leaving was a long time coming after feuding with Meghan McCain and “toxic” atmosphere on the set.
“We have some bittersweet news to share. Abby Huntsman is leaving ‘The View’ to help run her father’s campaign for Governor of Utah and to spend more time with her young family. As you will see in her note below, she made the tough decision to move on over the holiday break,” producers wrote to “View” staff members.
Yet, there is a lot of rumors and sources commenting on why Huntsman really is leaving “The View” with many pointing at a strained relationship with controversial Meghan McCain, the show’s lone conservative voice. But according to Page Six, their entire vibe on the show started to be “toxic” and it was attributed to how ABC treated Huntsman.
“It’s an unhealthy environment — just the way that things are handled during shows and how people deal with each other. It’s intense,” a source told Page Six. “ABC treated Abby like s–t, but everyone on the show gets treated like s–t,” the source added. “She was smart enough to do something about it.
There was also dissatisfaction coming from viewers about Huntsman not bringing much to the table in terms of engagement. According to the DailyMail, show researchers found that viewers found her ‘bland’ and “didn’t feel that she had a clear point of view.”
“Abby was added to the show without chemistry-testing with the other women mainly because she had a prior relationship with Meghan McCain and ABC was desperate to make Meghan appear more likeable.”
According to sources that spoke to the DailyMail, ABC already has someone in mind to take the seat: frequent guest co-host Ana Navarro.
Sources tell the Dailymail that Huntsman’s departure couldn’t have come at a better time as ABC is looking to hire frequent guest co-host Ana Navarro to take her seat. Navarro would join McCain as the lone Republican voices on the show. The source says that the combo of Navarro and McCain is something a national audience would be able to handle considering the two have previously worked together.
‘It’s no secret, the audience loves Ana. Whoopi, Joy and Sunny love Ana,’ the source said. ‘The producers love Ana. Giving her more days would be a no-brainer for sure. But since ABC News has taken over The View, the right thing is rarely done anymore, which is why the turnover rate on this show post-Barbara is so high.”
But there is still a lot of questions left to be answered including how Navarro would be able to be a permanent co-host considering she lives in Miami. “The View” films its show in New York City which would mean that Navarro, who is a newlywed, would have to split time in both cities.
To date, ABC has not confirmed or commented if Navarro would be hired to replace Huntsman.