Whoopi Goldberg warmed hearts on The View Thursday afternoon, offering a goodbye toast to her co-host Abby Huntsman, who announced Monday that Friday will be her last day on the ABC talk show. Because Goldberg will not be on Friday's episode, she said she wanted to offer her own special message to Huntsman ahead of her official exit.
"I'm not gonna be here tomorrow and tomorrow's your last day. So I wanted to make sure that I got to do a little toast to you at our table," Goldberg began, holding a glass of champagne. "I want to tell you that it's been an honor and a pleasure sitting next to you. Whatever you're doing next, traveling, dealing with the kids — I can't wait to see the kids when they're a little older — and looking after your dad. It's going to be really interesting and so we'll be watching, we'll keep our eye out on you," Goldberg said.
"Thank you for being my guardian angel here — you have been," Hunstman responded.
All five co-hosts leaned over the table to toast their glasses. "Here's to us. Here's to Abby," Goldberg said.
Huntsman announced earlier this week that she'd be leaving The View to help her father, Jon Huntsman Jr., run his gubernatorial campaign in Utah.
"This is always such a hard thing to do," Huntsman said Monday. "And especially this table because this is a really special table. The most iconic show I think on television and the smartest women that I've ever worked with. But today I'm saying goodbye."
Although Huntsman told viewers that she had made the decision to leave in order to be a senior advisor to the campaign, several reports have suggested that other factors, including a "toxic work environment" and tensions with her co-hosts, played into her decision.
A source told the Daily Mail that Huntsman's exit came as ABC executives were considering phasing her out of the show after research depicted that viewers found her to be "bland" and lacking 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 likable," a source told the outlet. "But it didn't take execs long to realize that Abby talked a lot, but she never really said anything. Her points and opinions never really landed with the audience because it often lacked substance."
However, Barbara Fedida, ABC News SVP of Talent & Editorial Strategy & Business Affairs, told the outlet that Huntsman's "future on the show was never in jeopardy or in question."
Huntsman joined The View at the start of Season 22 in September 2018.0comments
In her absence, network executives are reportedly hoping that Friday co-host Ana Navarro will take a more permanent role at the discussion table.
"It's no secret, the audience loves Ana. Whoopi, Joy and Sunny love Ana," the Daily Mail’s 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."