Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin were on the program to start the show with fellow hosts Joy Behar and Sara Haines, but as the show returned from its first commercial break, they were asked to leave by a producer. A bewildered Behar admitted she didn't realize what was going on, and she was stopped from introducing Harris mid-sentence as her co-hosts left the stage.
After another commercial break, Behar explained Hostin and Navarro had received positive COVID tests and would not return. That delayed the Harris interview, which was supposed to take up the majority of the program. The interview didn't start until there were only 10 minutes remaining in the hour.
In one of the more awkward moments in recent live television history, Behar and Haines asked the audience to participate and ask them questions, as the show worked to set up a video feed for Harris to do the interview backstage instead of coming in front of the audience. That went on for several blocks as the hosts worked to kill time.
It was often difficult for them to hear the masked audience members shout their questions. The two answered queries about being mothers, their advice to people in show business, and who their favorite guests on "The View" had been, among others.
Asked what moments in her lengthy television career stood out, Behar said "this one."
"This one is definitely … I mean, one thing about working in television is there's never a dull moment," she said.
Social media erupted at the bizarre moment that overshadowed the hyped appearance of Harris, which was supposed to be her first in-studio interview since taking office.
Harris was in the building but the White House said she was never in contact with Hostin or Navarro.
"The vice president did not have contact with the hosts before the show. Her schedule today will continue as planned," deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told Fox News.
"We did everything we could to make sure that you were safe because we value you so much," Behar said to kick off the heavily promoted interview.
"Sunny and Ana are strong women and I know they’re fine, but it really also does speak to the fact that they’re vaccinated, and vaccines really make all the difference because we would be concerned about hospitalization or worse," Harris said.
Fox News’ Brian Flood and Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.