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Barbara Walters denies reports Hasselbeck leaving "The View"

Television personality Barbara Walters arrives for the premiere of the film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in New York September 20, 2010
Television personality Barbara Walters arrives for the premiere of the film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in New York September 20, 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barbara Walters on Monday denied reports that Elisabeth Hasselbeck was leaving the daytime television talk show "The View," saying the co-host gave the show "perspective and balance."

US Weekly magazine on Friday first reported Hasselbeck, 35, would leave the ABC talk show at the end of the season in August, citing an unnamed source who said Hasselbeck's outspoken conservative views did not attract enough viewers. Deadline.com and the Hollywood Reporter also reported that Hasselbeck's contract would not be renewed.

"There is a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up about Elisabeth's alleged departure, saying that we don't approve of her conservative views," Walters, who created the long-running talk show, said on Monday's program.

"The truth is we love Elisabeth. I like her personally and she's just a wonderful person," Walters said.

"But beyond that, we value and appreciate her point of view, it's important to us because Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance," Walters said. "So we have no plans for Elisabeth to leave."

ABC had previously released a statement following the reports saying only that Hasselbeck "is a valued member of 'The View' and has a long-term contract."

Hasselbeck joined the long-running women-oriented talk show in 2003 and became known for her heated arguments with former co-host and liberal Rosie O'Donnell.

Co-host Joy Behar, who has been with the program since its debut in 1997, said on Thursday that she would leave the show after the current season.

ABC is owned by Walt Disney Co.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Bill Trott)

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