Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Photo by Jason Kempin, Getty Images.
It was billed as "Elisabeth's huge announcement" on Wednesday's "The View."
And it was the hot topic that kicked off the show, as Elisabeth Hasselbeck walked in arm-in-arm with Barbara Walters.
"I am a little emotional," said a shaky Walters, "or as Barbara sometimes says, I'm a little verklempt."
She continued: "It was reported last night that our Elisabeth is leaving us to join to the Fox network. ... As you can see I'm a little teary. I always want what's best for you. You know how I feel about you."
Then she said, "I'm happy that you're going." Realizing her blunder, she quickly said, "No, I'm not happy that you're going! ... You tell us about it."
Hasselbeck said, "I'm happy and excited to confirm that I'll be joining the 'Fox & Friends' team in September."
She thanked cast, crew, security, sound, makeup and "everyone behind the scenes."
She singled out exec producer Bill Geddie, who "challenged me every single day to be my best" and made her "never be fearful of voicing my opinion here."
To Whoopi Goldberg, she said, "You are one of the most talented artists on the planet. ... But you are even more loving than you are talented. You are walking unconditional love. ... I am blessed to have gotten to call myself a friend of yours."
To Joy Behar: "Joy and I have spent the past 10 years sparring over politics, but you know I have an insane amount of respect for you. ... I love you. I truly do."
Sherri Shepard (who was not there): "Your protest about this is not working," she joked. "Even when you're not right beside me here, I know you are always with me. You are my sister in Christ, my friend for life and when I see you just be warned I will hug you for probably three and a half days straight."
And to Walters, she said said, "I did the math last night and I believe, I could be wrong, I have over 3,000 days working by your side. I think it's fair to say over the course of a decade I feel as though I have attended the Barbara Walters school of broadcasting journalism. I feel like I have my master's in communications from being next to you. I don't know if there's a program out there that could offer the depth of knowledge, technique and art of interview that you have offered to everyone at this table and especially to me."
She said, "I feel more than prepared at this point because of all you've given me ... to more forward. I've worked with the best in the business... You are the best there is."
And finally, "One last thing! Lastly, I just want to leave you with this, thanks ... I'm not the first person to sit in this chair and I will certainly not be the last person to sit in this chair. The past 10 years have been nothing short of extraordinary. I wholeheartedly wish the next person or co-hosts that sit here an extraordinary set of years to come of their own."
Cracked Behar, who is exiting the show next month: "Can I borrow that speech when I leave?"
Hasselbeck, pointing to a piece of paper said, "Just replace your name with mine."
Walters got in the last word during the farewell, though. "I have enormous affection for you," she told Hasselbeck and tried to make a joke that she won't be having a "fourth" child because of her upcoming "really long hours." It kind of fell flat.
She cited that Hasselbeck "has been such a big part of the show's success."
Walters also announced that "we are not going to be filling" Hasselbeck's seat "very soon." She said there will be "plenty of guest co-hosts" and said, "Don't send us any tapes or résumés, please."
She invited Hasselbeck to come and visit anytime.
Cracked Behar to Hasselbeck, "Fox. Gee, won't you be a fish out of water, there?"
A serious Whoopi said, "I just think you're the cat's meow. You've been a really good friend to me and I appreciate you." At this point, Hasselbeck welled up.
Said Walters: "You're leaving us and you're taking a lot of love with you."
Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
Gannett / USA Today