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Caitlyn Jenner? Abby Huntsman? Who will ‘The View’ choose to replace Meghan McCain?

Names being floated include Megyn Kelly (definitely not) and Kellyanne Conway (probably not)

Meghan McCain on the set of “The View” in New York.
Meghan McCain on the set of “The View,” in New York on April 17, 2018. McCain announced her departure from the popular morning talk show on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Now, who will replace her on the show?
Heidi Gutman, ABC via Associated Press

New mom Meghan McCain said that she is leaving “The View” because she doesn’t want to live in New York, but she seemed to acknowledge on Twitter Thursday that there might be more to the story.

“I pride myself on always taking big risks, rolling the dice, and making unpredictable life and career choices,” she tweeted. She also spoke of “so much chatter, so much gossip, so many many many questions people are asking me this week.”

Those questions are likely not just about what she’ll do next, but also who’s going to take her place on the ABC talk show where she has called herself “the token conservative” on a panel of five.

Speculation is rampant, to include some realistic prospects and also some that are, let’s just say, far less likely. Here are five names that have been suggested:

Megyn Kelly

The former Fox News star would have no trouble “owning the libs” on “The View,” but likely has too much star power to be part of a panel. Also, Kelly, a mom of three, recently announced that she will be the host of new SiriusXM talk show starting in September. She’ll be on from noon to 2 p.m., Eastern time, putting her in competition with Buck Sexton and Clay Travis, who took over Rush Limbaugh’s noon-3 p.m., time slot in June. Even Superwoman wouldn’t have time for anything else.

Caitlin Jenner

The transgender reality-show star and Olympian is currently running to be governor of California and has conservative views that line up with many Republicans and center-right independents (even on the issue of transgender athletes.). Assuming she doesn’t win, she could be available as early as Sept. 15, the day after the election. Writing for Slate, Heather Schwedel gave Jenner a 5,000-to-1 chance of being McCain’s replacement. noting that Jenner would break barriers as the show’s first transgender host. Schwedel gives better odds, though, to Bari Weiss, the former New York Times editor and writer (50-1) and political strategist Ana Navarro (2-1) who appears on CNN and also guest-hosts on “The View.”

Abby Huntsman

Abby Huntsman

Writing for The Hill, Judy Kurtz speculated that ABC might look in the rearview mirror as it looks forward, recruiting a former host like Abby Huntsman to replace McCain.

Huntsman left the show in 2020 to help with the campaign of her father, former ambassador and GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, who was running to be governor of Utah. In an interview with Adam Carlson for People magazine last month, she said the decision to leave the show was “probably the best decision I could have made for my life, for my mental health, for my happiness, for my family.”

That doesn’t sound like she’s coming back. Also, she said she’s planning to launch a podcast this fall with her friend Lauren Leeds.

Kellyanne Conway

Kurtz also threw out the name of Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to run a successful U.S. presidential campaign and the high-profile adviser to former President Donald Trump. Conway sold her consulting company in 2017 and has kept a fairly low profile since leaving the White House, apparently making good on her vow to to work on her relationship with her daughter Claudia, who said on TikTok this week that her relationship with her mother is “actually really good right now.” She’s also under contract to write a book, reported to be a memoir. Details are scant, but the book is rumored to fetch her millions, making it even more unlikely that she would want a Monday-Friday gig, even on a show she’s been on previously.

The wild cards

Other suggestions that are being bandied about on social media include S.E. Cupp, a political commentator for CNN who describes herself on her website as a “practical conservative with a fierce independent streak,” and Candace Owens, a conservative commentator who came up with the concept of “Blexit,” a Black exodus from the Democratic Party, and hosts a show called “Candace” on The Daily Wire.

But don’t look for a decision this week, and don’t assume that McCain’s replacement will be someone already famous.

McCain will be on “The View” through the end of July, and in another high-profile replacement, Premiere Networks chose two people with limited name recognition — Sexton and Travis — to fill the late Rush Limbaugh’s slot.

ABC could do something similar, or something even more surprising: like giving more than one slot on the show to someone with conservative views.

But the odds of that happening are likely even worse than 1 million to 1, which is what Slate gives to the prospects of “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison joining “The View.”