‘The View’: Nicolle Wallace on Getting Fired and Other Hot Topics (EXCLUSIVE)

Nicolle Wallace The View
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

When Nicolle Wallace was hired as a co-host of “The View” last September, ABC executives told her they wanted an intelligent, measured Republican at the Hot Topics table opposite Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell and Rosie Perez. But season 18 turned out to be a tumultuous year for the show, with ratings down 16% compared to the second quarter in 2014. There was no shortage of drama behind the scenes. ABC News and daytime bosses fought a tug-of-war for oversight of “The View,” until Disney/ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood handed the reins to the news division in October, and O’Donnell exited in January, citing health concerns as a result of a chaotic work environment.

Although Wallace, the former communications chief for President George W. Bush, received props from viewers and the staff for her laidback style, executives under ABC News president James Goldston decided in the spring that they were dissatisfied that she didn’t bicker with her co-hosts during Hot Topics. But they never gave Wallace a single note — good or bad — all season about her performance. In July, Wallace was caught off-guard when she learned from a Variety story that she was being fired as co-host of “The View.”

Wallace met up with Variety after she signed off from “The View,” and turned down a role to appear on the show once a week. She’d just come from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where she recently re-signed a two-year contract as a contributor. Wallace talked about her season on “The View” and how she felt about leaving.

The casting for season 18 was last minute. Had you met with the other panelists before you started?
We did one rehearsal show. Presidents practice more than that to throw out a pitch at a minor-league all-star game. The first day, my hair was brown because someone told me it should be brown. By Wednesday, it was back to blonde again, and I was feeling better. I said: “I’ll do anything you want. I’ll wear anything you want. But I’m dying my hair back to blonde.”

You really seemed to get along with Whoopi and Rosie Perez.
Whoopi and I never separated. We’d show up, go to the meeting, stay in hair and makeup. Rosie Perez and I became equally close. The special-ness of knowing those two women and becoming their friends, there was never a day where it wore off. Their friendship got me through the final five weeks, which were not how I expected it to end.

I loved the job. I had no plans of quitting. I think I thought that I would learn somewhere other than Variety that I’d been fired. It shattered my naivete about television. Listen, it’s all fair. I wasn’t wronged by anybody. But I was surprised to learn in the press about their decision not to bring me back.

Had they given any indication they were unhappy with your performance?
I had never had one note from anybody inside the entire organization during the entire season. No one said a word to me. Maybe I should have seen it coming. Not after a single show, a single Hot Topic or a single interview. It was like being invisible. But not in an unpleasant way.

That’s not normal for television.
See, I didn’t know what was normal. Even at MSNBC as a contributor, there’s a lot of conversation and collaboration, but I’d never worked in daytime.

What did ABC tell you when they finally called you?
They never called me. The night your second story ran, they summoned my agent and told me they’d like to consider me for a contributor role, and they also made me an offer at ABC News to do the conventions and debates.

Did you think about it?
I did. They asked me to be on “The View” for one day a week. I felt like if it had been two days a week or enough time to have more of a presence, I’d consider it. They weren’t interested in negotiating with me. It didn’t make sense for me.

Many viewers are upset that you’re leaving.
It’s too much to even comprehend how nice they’ve been. Everywhere I go, people stop me and they’re like, “Where can we send a letter?” I’m like, “Don’t send a letter — you’re going to get me in trouble.” Then I think, “Why am I protecting these people? They fired me.”

Why did you ever want to do “The View”?
Oh my God. Everybody wants to do “The View.” It’s this iconic show. When I worked at the White House, I used to watch the beginning, to see what they were talking about. If a political topic was on their radar, I used it as ammunition with the president or the White House staff. “This is such a big deal,” I’d say. “They are talking about it on the damn ‘View.'” I always felt it was an important show and an important barometer. The day I got the job, it was expressed to me by Ben Sherwood that he wanted to make it a place where all the candidates for president had to stop. I took that assignment to heart and tried to have the kind of political discussions that, while sharp and critical at times, were also fair.

Was Ben involved in the show?
That was the only time I talked to him.

How did you find out Rosie O’Donnell was leaving?
In the press.

Was it a difficult season?
For me, I was sort of like Forrest Gump. I was standing there and all this crazy stuff was happening, but I didn’t know anything different. I loved it all. Was it difficult? It was my first foray into that world. I was on the Sarah Palin campaign, so I’d certainly seen extraordinary and dramatic things take place before. There were some extraordinary and dramatic moments during the Rosie O’Donnell part of the season. I don’t think she felt it was what she signed up for, so there was some exasperation.

Did you get along?
To my knowledge. She was really intense, and that intensity could be really uncomfortable. What transpired between us transpired on air. We had a combustible debate about torture. She had really combustible conversations about race. And listen, maybe this is where I failed in the eyes of the executives who hired me. Maybe this combustion is what they were seeking.

After Elisabeth Hasselbeck, there was this template that the Republican had to be fighting with all her other co-hosts.
I like and respect Elisabeth Hasselbeck so much. I’m from a political party that represents half the country. I never really thought that anyone thought there was just one kind of Republican woman. I never went to work and thought, “How can I be more like Elisabeth?” It never crossed my mind that was the measure I was being held to.

Did you wish you fought more?
I did me. If I had been trying to be something else, I never could have pulled it off.

The conservative next season will be Candace Cameron Bure. Is she political?
I asked her once about politics and she said she’s just becoming more interested in politics.

How is that going to work?
I think she’ll be great. The one thing I think that is the most important to your success is the support of executives you work for, and she has that.

Were you surprised that Rosie Perez was leaving too?
She wanted to leave and they respected that. But I’m surprised they didn’t try to find some way to keep her on the show.

They searched for a Latina co-host for so long.
They are not going to find anyone better than her. When actors came in, they all wanted to meet Rosie Perez and Whoopi.

What were some of your favorite guests?
Jeff Garlin taking his pants off was the single funniest thing that happened on the show. I loved meeting Stevie Wonder. I loved meeting Alicia Keys. The real-people stories we did stayed with me longer. We did a fashion show with kids with disabilities. We did a show with kids fighting cancer. Those were the shows that made me feel like I was doing something useful with my morning. I was happy to be there every single day. When they did finally come and talk to me, I said, “I wish the show the best. But you did lose your happiest employee.” I was happy to be on every show. I sat down at 11 o’clock next to Whoopi Goldberg, feeling like I’d won the lottery every time.

Did you meet Barbara Walters?
When I did the test shows. I called her before my last show and she was generous and kind, and asked me if I heard I was getting fired in Variety.

Will you still watch “The View”?
I have a 3-year-old. I have a couple of jobs. I don’t wish them anything but roaring success. But it’s sort of like a breakup. If you’re dating the quarterback and then you go out with the hockey player, you just go to the hockey games. I don’t think I’ll still go to the football games.

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  1. samuel chell says:

    Bristling, provocative discussion after the interview during President Trump dug the hole deeper for himself, the office, the country as a whole. The interview was an infantile and necessarily pathological performance not by a fallen, uninformed leader but by one incapable of political or moral leadership and, moreover, an uneducable human being who came in with little more than a mixed history of wheel-dealing, promises of #1 greatness for everyone in America, and idiotic boasts, hate and fear-mongering, and amateurish theatrics playing the the lowest (or “basest”) feelings in the underbelly of the American Dream. It was a lively hour, albeit repetitious and redundant. All that was needed was the always thoughtful and exceptionally articulate Harold Ford (“the President was given 3 Mulligans and he fluffed them all”–this from someone Scaramucci characterized as an exemplary golfer!).

  2. Jane carter says:

    Nicole Wallace was an intelligent, knowledgeable and classy woman. I loved her style of commenting without fighting (Aka Moery Povitch crud). I would enjoy having her back at least twice a week. I wouldn’t mind two blonds on the panel. BRING HER BACK!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Dehlia says:

    Kevin was refreshing, and I enjoyed his interaction with the others on the View…

    Wow never knew that about Nicole Wallace, and actually miss her. She proved to be one of their bests Rep co-hosts. Jedidiah for me is useless always spotting off. There’s a Democrat Party and a Republican Party both parties are going through turmoil this year. Mention that, not the crap I hear her say. Need a person whos older and more mature not a Hispanic who says shes a Republican. The Republican Party this year is not the party of old and many despise its members. By not discussing that she’s become boring/disappointing. Her President is doing mistruths/hateful things even previous members never thought about.

    Jed ignores all that and continues to hone in on only Democrats. All thats needed Jedidiah… is an “intelligent”, measured conversation on the good, the bad, the ugly Republican at the Hot Topics table w/those also at the table. No diatribe needed.

  4. JRT10 says:

    Jim, you are a charmer. I envy your family to have such a jewel of a thoughtful person as you.

  5. Karen says:

    I’m a liberal Democrat and I truly like Nicole. I watch the Brian Williams show, ‘The 11th Hour’ and she contributes quite a lot. Her comments on ‘The View’ and her firing (which I didn’t even know she was on – I don’t watch that show) – show what class and common sense she has!

  6. axzl says:

    Can you imagine wanting a radical right-wingnut on the show just to bicker and argue about her insane views? Just have intelligent, well-spoken women on the show. Of course, they’ll all be liberal because the radicals are anything but intelligent and well-spoken, but the truth is more important than pointless bickering and endless lies from the right.

  7. Mary wright says:

    I’m a democrate but I fell in love with Nicolle Wallace. I listen to her on Today show and Morning Joe. She has a very fair and intelligent view point.

  8. Bev says:

    I miss you Nicole I loved you on the view. Best of luck I know you will succeed in life anyone following Sarah plain and smiling is a good person good luck I miss you I am Canadian

  9. Alex Krumins says:

    I like her!

  10. Carl Finch says:

    The View SUCKS! And has sucked for for a couple of years. It’s a Very Heavy one sided table.
    NO check and balance! Wallace gave the View some balance to the show and was getting better at it each day.
    Carl Finch

  11. Ann says:

    I don’t think they know what they’re doing at the View. Musical chairs. I’m a democrat, but for once enjoyed intelligent debate from the republican on the panel. The only time I expected more from her was when she did not understand the meaning behind Black Lives Matter. It’s deep though, and most republicans can’t go there or get there. They’re too black and white…scuse the pun.

  12. KarenCollins says:

    What a class act Nicolle Wallace is! I am a democrat, but I loved Nicolle Wallace on The View, she gave us a fresh new enlightening view of how a Republicsn can be nice, kind and still disagree with you respectfully! Letting her go was one of the bigger mistakes &the powers that be” for the show made, the other very big mistakes was to replace her and Rosie Perez with the junk hostesses they have now. I like Whopoie and Joy, but the rest are like “junk mail” you get it but you did not ask for it or want it! After what they did to Nicolle Wallace I quit watching mostly, unless they have a guest I want to see. I was appalled to see they got nominated for anything the show has gotten so bad. They should have listened to their fans!

  13. Cindy lassiter says:

    I stopped watching the view when when I saw how the show was anti republican and when Elizabeth hasslebeck left and after the last election when they had the wives on the show of the candidates running for president . First of all no politician should be on any talk show nor late night show for they are not actors!! If these woman on the view had any sense they would see how out country is being destroyed with this last administration. I will never watch the show again.

  14. Claire lews says:

    Just read article re Nicolle Wallace being fired from the View. Although I do not like her at all, I am pleasantly surprised at her graciousness in her response regarding being fired from the View.

  15. Joanne says:

    I thought Nicole Wallace was terrific. She added class to the panel. All the had to do to fix the show was bring back Joy Behar. The panel with Whoopi, Nicole, Joy and Rosie Perez with guest hosts would have been terrific. With Nicole Wallace on the panel they would have had more presidential candidates be successful on the show.

  16. Margo says:

    Its so one sided as far as politics. I get sick of them always putting down republicans but yet a democrat can do NO wrong. Look what Obama has done to our country & now they want Hilary…please. I’m not a Bush fan but I would rather have another Bush then Hilary or socialist Bernie.

  17. I miss you so much on the show, much love and success to you

  18. Jane says:

    Nicole was much too smart to be on a panel with these mindless yahoos. She must have been so bored talking to these mindless people. She was the ONLY reason to tune into the show. The View is pathetic – time to shut it down.

  19. linda sander says:

    They had to fire Nicole or she would have put the nix on this constant Democratic agenda. She would have been able to give the positives for both parties and actually turn the comments into an intelligent,interesting conversation. They have convinced me to vote Republican this election. I do not want to be associated with a party that can not have a genuine discussion.

  20. E Smith says:

    To let Nicole Wallace leave this show and keep the others on is complete lunacy. She is the only one that was anywhere near interesting or informed. I cannot stand the rest of them – Good Luck to Nicole!!

  21. I loved Nicolle Wallace on the view. She was intelligent, insightful, funny, and personable. She was not afraid to speak her mind whether it was well accepted by the View co-host or not. She welcomed a heated debate. The manner in which Nicolle was fired from the View was horrendous, horrific, and appalling. When Nicolle left the View, so did I and many of my friends.

  22. The wrong view says:

    Nicolle’s departure from the View is a huge mistake. She was the most educated and most experienced of the hosts. They show was much more interesting and sophisticated with her. Not to mention she is a good looking woman. Much easier on the eyes than Whoopi or Rosie. Big mistake to let her go.

  23. mjgutwinMark says:

    too bad I think she is sexy

  24. Jan Kilborn says:

    I thought Nicole left on her own. I am VERY dismayed. I loved her on “The View”. She was a Republican who was extremely knowledgeable and had facts to back up her statements. Now it is ,”The Democratic Puppet’s Show”…..lock-step thoughts. We need some varying viewpoints…..not just vapid discussions.

  25. Jeanne says:

    This was not a good decision. Nicole was great. I actually tuned in to see her. I’m a democrat and loved seeing a common sense intelligent republican having civil conversations with common sense intelligent liberals. I don’t tune in to watch fighting. There is enough fighting in the world. Nicole showed that opposite parties can disagree and be civil to one another. Now I will tune out! Someone f***** up big time.

  26. Colleen says:

    I think the show has lost a lot of its intelligence with Nicole gone. I don’t like Joy. I don’t understand why the girl from that TV show is on. Who cares what the show was but it was some bubblegum show. Whoopie is the only good voice of reason left and the other talking heads talk over her. I don’t know who is making the decisions but I think THAT person should be replaced.

  27. Diana says:

    Really, I can’t believe this article. I didn’t know why you weren’t on the show anymore. I really like you. I have been trying to figure out what is wrong with the view??? They are a long slow train wreak.They take one good step forward and three bad steps back. It’s like ping pong. I wonder who they will try out next week. What has troubled me most is Raven. They let you go and then they let someone like Raven stay. She is rude, arrogant. She lacks knowledge in basic life issues. If it’s her view they are looking for they should change the whole notion that they are talking about everyday issues with people in all walks of like. She is so weird and sure doesn’t depict the norm in america. She is a mess. You were great on the show. You were intelligent and down to earth. I will never again watch the view in a serious way. I will only check it out once in a while to see who is on next and I will VIEW it like it is the enquirer

  28. Joy Nevin says:

    Such sad, sad news about Nicolle’s being fired. She was wonderful, articulate, fair, kind and intelligent. She brought the right needed balance to the show….and I respect how she and Rosie and Whoopi respected each other. I read that acerbic Joy Behar is back to help elect Hillary. If so, I am finished for good with The View. What a shame that politics and mean spiritedness must smack viewers in the face at 11 AM. I wish Nicolle the very, very best….like Barbara Walters, she is a class act.

  29. Anne Munn says:

    Nicole Wallace was fantastic on the show. She will be missed for her honesty and knowledge. I have no idea why they would put Raven Symone on in place of Nicole. Raven does not bring anything to the show (no offense to her).

  30. Patty says:

    Nicole Wallace was a great host. At first I thought, oh no, another Elizabeth Hasselbeck, but Nicole was always fair and she always made sense. I learned a lot about the GOP. I think The View got this firing of Nicole entirely wrong. I can’t stand Raven. I am happy to see Joy back, but I honestly don’t know if it’s enough. I am very disappointed with the show. I don’t enjoy it as I used to. I think they’ve lost a fan.

  31. Linda says:

    Nicole Wallace you are one classie woman. You could tell you were happy. You are so much smarter than sitting there trying to shout some of those loud mouths out. My guess….its ,on its way down. Loved Whoopie and Rosie really respected her. But you were the best and kept that place grounded. Can’t watch it anymore Joy is loud and obnoxiously. You can’t hear anyone above her. Whoop can’t carry it alone. It makes a difference when y’all like one another and you three were it,!! Also when the dummies started talking politics you could shut them down!! They let the most genuine intelligent woman go. Big mistake!! You know your stuff and people loved that when you talked and explained things.

  32. PMC says:

    Nicole Wallace was my favorite and I’m a Democrat. They made a HUGE mistake taking her off the air. Now the show is not only boring but dumb.

  33. Vivian says:

    Nicolle just made the view so much better. I love Whoopi, Joy, Michele and Paula the rest of them are just fillers. I don’t even watch it anymore. Kinda sad I had been watching it for 16 years since day one really. Nicolle you will be just fine you’re smart intelligent beautiful, they were lucky to have you.

  34. Melissa Limas says:

    I watch The View when I can and am discovering that it is just not the same without Nicole Wallace. I lean the other way politically but, her spot on comments on all things political were informative as well as entertaining!! I will also miss her “pop culture” naiveté! I loved that she got excited over meeting so many actors, actresses and musicians. She was giddy and innocent-the way a real person would react! She is missed and now I am bored. I will not be watching any longer!!

  35. Linda Davis says:

    Whoopie, Nicole and Rosie Perez were a unique, but great combination. They were interesting, and brought fire to the show without being obnoxious. I enjoyed seeing Nicole be wide eyed and genuine when she met other famous people. I had never been a Nicole fan before the view, but quickly changed my opinion of her. The new panel besides Whoopi and Joy, seem disjointed and scrambling for face time.. They don’t really have much to say and Whoopi looks disgusted with them. The new season is just starting and I’ve already turned to other channels. ABC really screwed this time.

  36. GHowell says:

    Nicolle Wallace brought a fresh and respectful view to the View. Contrary to popular belief, there are people out here in TV Land that enjoy that type of perspective. The fact that she could sit at that table, share her views, without the cheap fighting, was a testament to her intelligence and integrity. I can only hope that if in the future you want her back, if she were to choose to come, you have to pay her triple her salary. Shame on you, if she was released without notice, you learned nothing from this forthrigh, honest and outstanding women. Nicolle Wallace, The View is the one with the loss, not you.

  37. Janice Newman says:

    I am so disappointed in The View. They were supposed to be setting an example for the rest of us. This has really effected me and I’m not sure I will keep on watching. Nicolle deserved more support and a better treatment from those involved. Best luck with your future. I will miss your political viewpoint. Even though I am Canadian I find your politics quite interesting.

  38. Sheila Glaser says:

    I really miss Nicole. I wish her luck and would love to see more of her–any place.

  39. Marcia Taylor says:

    I no longer watch the view. I like joy and whopi but it just doesn’t interest me anymore.

  40. i am very sorry to see Nicole Wallace fired from the view. She was bright, intelligent and gave a different point of view each day. All of these other ‘newbies’ know very little about politics, and government and have difficulty articulating their views on ‘Hot Topics’ She (Nicole) provided a lot of intellect and possessed grace & dignity. It was her different view that made the show interesting. Now, it’s the same old stuff. These women are not bright. Comedians sure every once in a while. Joy Behar, the same old story. Keep Whoopi, bring Nicole Wallace and Rosie Perez back along with others that possess intelligence. Not ‘Hollywood’, Disney and other ‘know nothing’s’.

  41. Connie Gilmore says:

    You lost the most intelligent co-host on the view.
    I love and adore Whoopi but her and her breast and comments concerning her breasts is unnecessary and distasteful for a learned woman as she. Joy Bay harr and Michelle both are nothing but comedians who bring nothing interestingly to the conversation. Their jokes take away from every “Hot topic” the time allowed for each is wasted by their gibberish. The lady lady from Good Morning America can’t get a good word in now that Raven and Michelle can’t keep their mouths shuts for something intelligent she has to say. Raven now that she has become a co-host seems to think its funny or she can’t control herself and gets up out of her seat stomping her feet and acting the fool. And you have taken the most intelligent woman off the view for what idiotic reason we all can’t fathom. The Talk has become 100% better then the view will ever be. I think its time the view found its own view somewhere else. My view looking in on your view has become a joke. Hot topics must becoming fromvthe getto. You can edit my opion but loosing Nicole Wallace and putting Raven Simon, Michelle and bringing back Joy and God for bid Candace Cameron, don’t let me start on her. Mrs. Air Head of 2014 & 2015 not just a mistake but do you hear talk that voice plus she doesn’t know whats goin on in this world except maybe what her hubby tells her at night. She needs to go back to take care of her children. Get with The View or just get off the air. Im2 going to to the The Talk.. You know the ones who won awards. .

  42. Gail Stewart-Evans says:

    Nicole Wallace is an intelligent, rational conservative. They’re rare! Her perspective will be missed.

  43. Doris J. Ebert says:

    I miss NIcole already. I have watched the View since the first day it aired. Nicole was an asset to the show and I thought she gave intelligent answers to the topics that were discussed. I am sorry to see her go and think the “Big Exec” made a big mistake in firing her. The show already is not something I think I am going to continue watching.

    • Stacey Scott says:

      I absolutely LOVE YOU Nicole!!!!! They screwed up letting you and both Rosies go. I loved that panel the best ever!! Instead they want drama and ugliness. Well, I watched it to hear different opinions and ideas from the start. I wanted to hear different people that would be respectful and kind to each other. Finally again that’s what your panel did. As they continue to make changes again, it just becomes more about drama, fighting, ugliness and insults with one another. Plus you can’t even hear over those people and all the talking over each other. Nobody stop talking to hear what point each has. I stopped watching for two years because it’s so bad. Rosie had passion and loved kids and gives back to that. Instead today they bring back someone like Sheri who commits to a child as his mother and leaves him and says he’s not her son because she leaves his father. I have no respect for people who abandon their children. None! Since this is the way the view wants to be and these are the people they want representing them, I am now back to watching the Price is Right.

  44. Sally VonDrasek says:

    I will miss Nicole on the view. She was a breath of fresh air.

  45. Loretta Greaser says:

    I miss Nicolle so much, she knew what she was talking about when she opened her mouth…so unlike a lot of the panel on the View from the past and present. I quit when they brought loudmouth Joy Behar back! The comedian (so called) that is on there now is a simpleton also. I don’t envy Whoopi her job, it is like corralling a herd of cats!

  46. Felicia says:

    I loved Nicole on the view! It was a great chemistry with this group. My mother in law was like we never heard her mention she was leaving. We were sad we are African Americans. And we right now will miss this group. We still watch daily.

  47. Lisa Hannah says:

    Really and truly, Nicole and Rosie were the ladies I liked best….. I watch the show now and am totally uninterested….. what happened….I am like you Nicole, I don’t understand….

  48. Nicole Wallace you were wonderful, and I can’t believe you will not be there, I enjoyed watching Whoopi, Rosie Perez and you. Now had they just hired Joy Behr back and kept all you it would have been perfect.

  49. Terry Hastings says:

    Whoopi stood up shamelessly for (in his own words) a serial sexual predator who drugged over 50 women. It was ABC executives who compelled Whoppi to finally apologize in public on the show.
    Nicole choose not to use her intellect and common sense to stand up to Whoopi’s blindness. Acceptance was her only priority.
    Clearly Whoopi is not fit to anchor the show. Hence Joy’s return.
    If Whoopi sticks up for a sexual predator again she will meet her ‘Waterloo’ in Joy.
    The ratings will then skyrocket and everyone will be happy!

    • I thought I was the only one who was perturbed about Goldberg standing up for Cosby…ever since then I can’t stand her blindness, I didn’t see the apology. I’m glad Joy is back and I agree she is a better anchor than Goldberg she speaks clearly with authority!!!

  50. Deborah Stockman says:

    Highly disappointed Nicolle Wallace was let go from The View. She is smart,pretty and fun and you traded her in for two disrespectful loud mouths with nothing to say. I don’t like your grouping they annoy me and all I can say is shame on you. I won’t be watching.

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