In many ways, it seemed like The View was a perfect home for Abigail « Abby » Huntsman. As the daughter of Jon Huntsman, a former presidential candidate who most recently served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, she wasn’t short on political ideology and found common ground with fellow political daughter Meghan McCain. The friends did occasionally butt heads — it is The View after all — but the pair filled the show’s only two conservative seats. Abby offered a much-needed balance that The View was lacking, and on the outside, it looked like an ideal position for a former Fox News host with a penchant for scrutinizing Donald Trump. So, why did she quit so quickly?
A couple months before Abby announced she was going to gracefully bow out, the star celebrated her one year anniversary on the long-running talk show. She wasn’t leaving ABC for another network. Rather, she was leaving television altogether. The reason Huntsman quit is pretty cut and dry, but there’s a lot of speculation beneath the surface that may have contributed to her difficult decision.
Abby Huntsman left The View to join her dad’s political campaign
Abby Huntsman has a policy of putting family first, and that’s just what she planned to do by leaving The View. In November 2019, her father, Jon Huntsman, announced that he was going to run for governor of Utah once again. The former presidential candidate initially held the post before leaving in the early aughts to become the ambassador to China under the Obama administration, according to Fox News. He later served as the ambassador to Russia under President Trump, but ultimately resigned in August after two years of service.
Per the New York Post, Abby plans to join her father’s campaign as a senior advisor at his request. He had reportedly asked the TV host for help in November, but she was waiting for was the right timing. It was only over the holidays that Abby reevaluated her career. « This is always such a hard thing to do… but today I’m saying goodbye, » Huntsman said during her exit announcement on The View. « My No. 1 priority has always been my family … over the holidays, when you take a step back and you think about life, you think about your kid, you think about what you want to do everyday that just gets you going, and there’s no one I believe in more than my own dad right now. »
Abby Huntsman stays true to herself on TV and in politics
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Abby Huntsman jumped ship to help her father’s political campaign. The TV host has always been surrounded by politics, first as a reporter and then as a TV personality, and she’s always had strong opinions. Case in point: Huntsman hosted Fox & Friends Weekends, but remained highly critical of President Trump, a viewpoint that’s an increasing rarity among Fox News heavyweights. In July 2018, the star even went as far as tweeting, « No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus » following Trump’s 2018 press conference with Vladimir Putin.
Needless to say, Abby was losing her popularity among Fox’s base of conservative, Trump supporters. « I was critical of [the President] a lot on Fox, and I got hit by our viewers for it. And that’s OK, » she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. Though it doesn’t seem like the star was concerned about her popularity, The View did give her space to openly admit more controversial claims like how the President’s call with the Ukraine was, in her words, extortion. Huntsman filled one of two conservative seats on the predominantly liberal series, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the star landed her gig because of her political viewpoints and expertise. That’s likely the same reason Huntsman’s father tapped her for a role as senior advisor.
Did Abby Huntsman leave The View to shake up her career?
Perhaps it was just time for Abby Huntsman to make a change. The 30-something star has already had a long, successful career in TV news, which started after she graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 2008. That’s a lot more than can be said for most journalists her age, who are suffering from extensive layoffs in an industry that lost more than 7,800 jobs in 2019, according to Business Insider.
According to reports from The New York Daily News and E! News, Huntsman first interned at a local news station and Good Morning America before being promoted into the role of a booker for the morning show and becoming a news desk assistant at ABC News. She took a brief detour into the world of PR, quit to volunteer for father’s campaign in 2011, and got connected with HuffPost Live during his attempt at snagging the Republican nomination. Though hundreds of people auditioned, Huntsman was awarded a hosting spot on the web series.
After that, Huntsman moved to MSNBC’s The Cycle, joining fellow political daughters Chelsea Clinton and Meghan McCain, before landing at Fox News, where she co-hosted Fox & Friends Weekend. By the time Huntsman started with The View, she already had about a decade of TV news experience. Where do you even go from The View, the holy grail of daytime talk? It makes sense that she’d want to shake things up.
Abby Huntsman wanted to focus on her three children
Abby Huntsman’s policy of family first goes a lot further than just her dad. The star is a mom to newborn twins, Ruby Kate and William Jeffrey, and a two-year-old daughter, Isabel. A mere four months before she decided to make a more permanent exit, the star returned to The View from maternity leave, but the first couple weeks of the twins’ life was so difficult, she may have wanted to restructure her career to focus on her kids.
According to People, Ruby stayed in the NICU for two weeks because her lungs were still developing, and the new mom was forced to drive back and forth between feeding William at home and feeding Ruby at the hospital. If it was already tough to leave her newborns at home to go back to work, this added an entirely new layer, but factor in a third kid under three years old. Mom’s will unanimously agree that’s crazy hectic.
Fox News obtained a statement that was emailed from executive producers to staff and confirmed that part of Huntsman’s decision to leave the talk show had to do with her kids. « We have some bittersweet news to share, » it read. « Abby Huntsman is leaving The View to help run her father’s campaign for Governor of Utah and to spend more time with her young family. »
The View films in New York, but Abby Huntsman’s parents are in Utah
Abby Huntsman is extremely close with her parents. Not only did she leave work to volunteer for her father’s presidential campaign in 2011, but she even interviewed him about his job for Fox & Friends. He was, after all, an ambassador to Russia in the wake of the historic 2016 election interference.
Unfortunately, Huntsman hasn’t spent a lot of her time with her family in recent years. While her dad was working for the White House, her parents resided in Russia, but The View tapes in New York. Try getting on an 11+ hour flight with three children who are younger than three years old. It’s miserable to sit next to, but just imagine being the mama covered in spit-up.
In a 2017 Instagram post, Huntsman admitted her father was her « best friend » and she wished her parents could « stay on U.S. soil. » With his resignation, she got her wish, and the former governor returned to Utah. Her exit from The View also cuts her professional ties with New York City, which means she can feasibly make the move, as well. It’s unclear whether or not she’ll make a permanent move out west, since her husband is a director at the private equity firm KKR, which is headquartered in Manhattan, but she’s certainly going to be spending more time in the area.
Did a feud trigger Abby Huntsman’s exit from The View?
It’s pretty much a given that no single day on the set of The View is without drama. That’s the entire premise of the show. Viewers tune in to watch the hosts yell at each other (or Donald Trump Jr., or Ann Coulter, or whichever guest du jour they’ve invited on for their controversial opinions) only to be shut down by Whoopi Goldberg, the show’s resident mediator. We don’t often expect that drama to extend behind-the-scenes, but according to some reports, a backstage feud may be one of the reasons Huntsman decided to leave the show.
The same month that Huntsman announced her exit, Page Six published a report detailing an alleged feud between Meghan McCain and her talk show co-hosts. The tabloid claimed that even Huntsman, whose politics most closely resemble McCain’s, hadn’t spoken to her co-host in about a month. « Abby was the last woman standing. It’s bad. Meghan’s so rude, » an alleged insider told the tab. A second alleged source claimed, « Abby tolerates Meghan, but she doesn’t genuinely like her. Their friendship has soured. »
Though Huntsman hasn’t addressed the Page Six rumors about her relationship with McCain, she did shut down similar feud rumors in September 2019. The star told E! News that she was « laughing » about the false stories while on maternity leave. Considering Huntsman seems to rise above the gossip, we’ll probably never know if a feud is what actually caused her to quit.
The View allegedly had a toxic work environment
Abby Huntsman didn’t work on The View very long, but she’s hardly the first host to quit. Her resignation was actually a lot more cordial than some of the show’s other former co-stars. According to Variety writer Ramin Setoodeh, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who was ultimately fired from The View in 2013, tried to quit the talk show during a commercial break in 2006 after a particularly explosive fight with Barbara Walters. In 2015, Rosie O’Donnell quit for the second time in two years. Rosie Perez also resigned for a second time after an alleged blow-out with Kelly Osbourne (though some reports claimed her exit was pre-planned). She lasted just 10 months.
The View has been plagued with feud rumors for years. With so many hosts shuffling in and out, you have to start to wonder what’s really going on behind the scenes. We see the hosts yelling on-screen, but we don’t see what happens after. According to CNN, the talk show has a toxic work environment that Huntsman was repeatedly complaining about.
Huntsman allegedly met with ABC’s senior vice president of talent, Barbara Fedida, prior to making her exit. During this meeting, she gave her resignation and reportedly « brought up what she saw as the overall toxic work environment at The View. » According to three anonymous sources, this is something she’s brought up in the past, but execs must’ve not done enough to smooth it over before Huntsman quit.
Did postpartum depression play a role in Abby Huntsman leaving The View?
At the time of this writing, Abby Huntsman’s twins aren’t even a year old. That’s not a long time to recover from a particularly difficult pregnancy. In an interview with Parade, the former Fox News host admitted that her second pregnancy was more physically difficult than her first, and she was placed partially on bed rest while suffering from acid reflux, insomnia, and pain while walking. Huntsman also opened up about her experience with postpartum depression following the birth of Isabel.
« A month or so after my pregnancy with Isabel, I didn’t feel like me. I kept thinking ‘Why am I down when this should be the happiest time in my life?' » She said. « More women are opening about this and it’s so real. I found what helped was taking time for myself and that it’s OK to admit it’s hard. I remember sitting in the kitchen crying and saying I don’t feel like me and that maybe I need help. »
According to Reuters, a bout of postpartum depression during a first pregnancy increases the risk of it happening during a subsequent pregnancy by 27 to 46 percent. In an August Facebook post, Huntsman admitted she felt « anxiety, depression, » and « extreme exhaustion » in the months following the birth of her twins, which as a major sign that her depression could have reappeared. Could you really blame her for not wanting to appear on national television?
Abby Huntsman will have time to focus on a second book
Abby Huntsman has a lot on her plate between her father’s political campaign and her three young children. Having some space from The View gives her time to pursue some of her other endeavors, which we don’t usually see on television. The star made some major career moves in 2018 when she added children’s book author to her impressive resume — but could there be a second book on the way?
On an October 2018 episode of The View, Huntsman talked about her new children’s book Who Will I Be? It followed the story of a young girl as she explored different careers that help her community. The book was reportedly inspired by Huntsman’s first daughter, and as we know, Huntsman recently gave birth to a set of twins. We haven’t heard any news about a follow-up from the former Fox News host, but her twins have to be giving her at least a little inspiration. If Isabel got a book, they deserve one, too, right? It’s hard to rule out entirely.
Don’t rule out Abby Huntsman’s return to The View
Never say never. Abby Huntsman may have left The View to join her father’s political campaign and focus on her young family, but there’s always a chance that the star will return at some point. This isn’t anything new for The View. How many times have we seen Rosie O’Donnell go back and forth? What about Joy Behar, who returned two years after leaving in 2013? Could the same thing possibly happen with Huntsman?
There are a couple things to consider before getting too excited about Huntsman’s potential return. First of all, her seat is still warm, so calm down. Second, should she want to return, would the network feel the same way? And would the cast want her back? It’s a likely yes to all of the above (providing those rumors of a toxic work environment aren’t true).
According to Fox News, Meghan McCain was « heartbroken » over Huntsman’s exit, so at least one of her co-hosts would probably rally for her comeback. It’s also unlikely that the network would find a conservative voice who is so likable among liberal audiences. McCain tends to draw a huge amount of criticism. For now, it seems like Huntsman is keeping the door open. When her co-hosts asked her about the possibility of returning when her father’s campaign is over, she said, « You never know, life is funny that way. »