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Former 'Survivor' Elisabeth Hasselbeck wins co-host slot on ABC's 'The View'


By Wade Paulsen, 11/24/2003 

For some contestants, appearing on Survivor represents their entire 15 minutes of fame. And then there's Elisabeth Filarski Hasselbeck.

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Today, ABC's The View announced that Elisabeth, who finished fourth on Survivor: The Australian Outback in spring 2001, would replace Lisa Ling as the "young" member of the five co-hosts on the show. She will join co-producer Barbara Walters, former 60 Minutes newswoman Meredith Vieira, attorney and former NBC legal correspondent Star Jones and comedian Joy Behar on the daily talk show, which is sometimes described as a cross between a serious issue-oriented news show and a "coffee klatch."

For about two years, Elisabeth has been the host of the Style Network's The Look for Less program. In addition, she is married to her college sweetheart, Washington Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. Quite a change from Elisabeth's first post-college (but pre-Survivor) occupation as a shoe designer for Puma, following an apprenticeship at Reebok.

Elisabeth has also been working for the past five years, dating back to her undergraduate years, on a line of greeting cards, bags, planners and shoes. Whether her increasing fame will help her find a backer for the line ... or whether the co-host of a major network news/talk show even wants to continue with this effort ... remains to be seen.

To win the position, Elisabeth was selected over two other finalists: fellow reality-TV veteran Rachel Campos, who was featured in Real World: San Francisco, and actress Erin Hershey Presley, formally of ABC's Port Charles daytime soap. The announcement was made on the Monday, November 24 show. In a parody of a Survivor tribal council, each of the co-hosts held up a ballot with "Elisabeth" written on it ... and the tribe had spoken.

In the Boston Herald, Elisabeth, at 26 the youngest of the three finalists, felt that she would bring a political difference to The View, since she was "a different voice for my age. I'm fairly conservative." Elisabeth, who graduated from the Jesuit university Boston College, noted that she shares the pro-life view of the Catholic church and "if they brought up anything about pro-choice, it would push my button."

Rachel, 32, who was seen as a slight favorite prior to the announcement since she was also considered for the job in 1999, is a stay-at-home mother of two who is expecting her third child; in her words, "I've become more of their target audience." Like Elisabeth, she noted her own political conservatism as a reason that she should be selected, adding that she's a Bush supporter and that "there really isn't a conservative on the show. As a viewer, I found that frustrating." She didn't think that she'd be intimidated as the sole conservative (while also highlighting her contribution to the show's mix of ethnicity): "It comes in handy coming from a loud Latin family. I'm not afraid to say what I think, even if it is unpopular." We wonder what she'll say about losing out for a second time.

For her part, Erin, 27, said, "I'm young, but not dumb." Perhaps the strongest factor against her was her comment that "nothing shocks me, nothing embarrasses me." Uh ... nothing? Not even Michael Jackson?

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