Due to COVID and other factors, The View was down to a three-person panel for Friday’s episode. Whoopi Goldberg opened Friday’s show by talking about being the ABC show’s lone regular co-host at the table, saying it had been an “insane” day behind the scenes.
“So none of the people that they introduced are here today,” Goldberg quipped at the start of the show before introducing Ana Navarro and Eboni K. Williams as guest co-hosts.
“Poor Eboni came in to say hello to me this morning and I was like, ‘Look, don’t get close!'” Navarro quipped as the three sat widely spaced at the table.
“You can’t believe the day we’ve had,” Goldberg said. “It’s been insane and crazy and yes, there are only three of us today.”
Goldberg didn’t explain why there were only three panelists for “Hot Topics,” prompting social media speculation about the whereabouts of co-hosts Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Sara Haines.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far: For Alyssa Farah Griffin, who is guest hosting this week, COVID was a factor. President Trump’s former communications director tweeted that she was MIA because she tested positive for COVID as the show aired live on the East Coast on Friday.
COVID was also to blame for Behar’s absence, which came as no surprise. It was revealed on Thursday’s episode that Behar, who was not there, would be taking “a few days” off owing to being in close contact with someone who had COVID.
They stated she was alright, but they stayed away as a precaution. (Navarro made it clear Behar was “not on strike over the chair” — after the 79-year-old recently took a tumble.)
As per Yahoo, neither Hostin nor Haines were slated to appear on Friday’s episode. On Thursday’s show, it was also mentioned that Haines had been off all week to tape the game show The Chase. Hostin, on the other hand, had a scheduled day off.
COVID has had an impact on The View during the last two years, just like any other production. After testing positive in January, Goldberg was forced to leave the show. Around the same time, Navarro was diagnosed with COVID. Hostin had COVID over the holidays and had lost two family members to the pandemic the year before.
The co-hosts, who are fully open about having vaccinated and boosted, however, adhere to strict set protocols. They’re tested on a regular basis – notably with some false positives — and have gone remote at times when there’s been close exposure within the group, including in early January after Goldberg tested positive during the Omicron surge. In cases of “close contact,” the co-hosts take time off, with Haines taking one in January, just like Behar.
Despite the setbacks, the show, which is known for its intense political arguments, has continued to host a regular stream of guests in front of a live audience in the studio. On Friday, Michael Bublé stopped by to speak with the show’s skeleton crew.