E! is mixing it up these days, testing the waters on in-depth profiles that aren’t “E! True Hollywood Story.” The network just launched “Beyond Candid With Giuliana Rancic,” where the “Fashion Police” star spends an hour with various celebrities. Although the first two interviews were typical E! (Demi Lovato and Melissa Joan Hart), it took a turn into the potentially-controversial realm on Monday night with Fox News Channel star Elisabeth Hasselbeck as a guest.
Well, at least in the sense that Rancic referred to the fact that Hasselbeck’s “political stance causes a stir,” given that she was the token conservative on “The View” for a decade. Hasselbeck’s frequent clashes with Rosie O’Donnell and other members of the panel were brought up as Hasselbeck sat down with Rancic and discussed her departure from the show.
“Can you say what ultimately happened? Did you choose to leave ‘The View,’ or did they ask you to leave ‘The View’?” Rancic asked. “Cause it wasn’t very clear.”
(Last spring, Barbara Walters shot down rumors that said Hasselbeck was leaving because the show didn’t approve of her conservative views. A few months later, Hasselbeck announced she would depart for Fox News Channel to replace Gretchen Carlson on “Fox and Friends.”)
Hasselbeck somewhat dodged the question, though she said it’s “natural and understandable” why people are curious for the reasons behind the split, but she has made “a strong decision not to define that time” on “The View” by her last day.
“It doesn’t do justice to the value of that decade to only look at the last few moments and why and what happened, because it was an incredible time,” Hasselbeck said. However, she added: “I’m also thankful that I don’t have to have the concern anymore that my kids will see someone almost punished, in a way, for having an opinion.”
Read between the lines as you will. Of course, Hasselbeck only had raves about her current job working at Fox News, when Rancic asked how it compares to being on “The View” every day.
“I think the greatest thing about where I am now is my opinion really doesn’t matter as much as maybe it did in a debate forum,” Hasselbeck said. “I like being on your side, asking the questions.”
Other topics were pretty much neutral: Hasselbeck’s childhood, her family life, how she met her husband, former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck (he joined for part of the interview). Rancic did ask if Hasselbeck was nervous interviewing President Obama when he came to “The View.”
“Actually, our greatest conversations were off-camera, just to the side. And I think there’s an assumption out there that there’s great hatred — there’s not,” she said. “I ask some tough questions — there was probably a big gulp inside before, but I thought, ‘You know what, this isn’t about me being afraid to ask a question. This is what makes our country great.’”