In addition to her regular gig as one of the core panelists on "The View," Haines is also back for her third season hosting the network's trivia gameshow, "The Chase." And there's been a learning curve for both shows.
On "The View" this year, the network has been cycling in a number of guest cohosts following Meghan McCain's exit. In the 10 months since her departure, the rotation has included show alums, notable names like Chelsea Clinton, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jane Lynch and conservatives including Lindsey Granger and Alyssa Farah Griffin.
"I like to say this season has been a lot of fun because sitting at that table is like eating with your family every night. The guest cohosts have been like someone brought a friend," said Haines when TooFab recently caught up with her before the show's trip to the Bahamas.
"We already know a lot of what we think and feel, but you find yourself leaning in and being like, 'What does the new one think? What do you think about this?'" she continued. "As they also, some of them have returned, it's given some familiarity and storylines that you start building off of."
She added, "To me, you never quite know what you're going to get. Normally, I'm a planner, but I've really enjoyed a season where you keep shaking it up."
"The Chase" has also been shaking things up this season, introducing three different trivia experts -- aka Chasers -- for the show's contestants to compete against. Joining the show are Victoria Groce, Brandon Blackwell and Buzzy Cohen, who go by the nicknames "The Queen," "The Lightning Bolt" and "The Stunner," respectively.
"I think the best part of these people, beyond their quizzing credentials, it's their personalities. They kind of came in this year as the newbies and after Day 1, you would have thought they were there the whole time," said Haines, who added this was the first season she's really been able to interact with everyone thanks to changing Covid protocols.
"We were able to be on the same floor, all our dressing rooms, so it literally felt like a dorm and every morning," she continued. "Whether somebody was going to be on the game that day or not, you got to talk with them, pass them, joke around, there were inside jokes, notes left on each other's door. It truly felt like college again."
Haines said another big change this season is just her general comfort, as she feels she's really found her footing hosting the competition series.
"I think now that we are in season 3, kind of finding my own 'Sara touch' to it all because it took a while initially to learn my role while kind of walking and chewing gum at the same time," she explained. "And then along the way, it was kind of loosening up enough to say, 'Can I do more on my own? Can I go off the rails a little?'"
"They were never really holding me back but I think before I can make something my own, I want to lean how it's done first and then I'll break the mold," she added. "So it took me a season or two to really get some elbow room and say I'm going to make this my own now."
In the past, Haines has said she's more of a Cranium or Taboo kinda gal, versus the Trivial Pursuit-esque nature of her show when playing games at home -- but told TooFab that she still has her areas of expertise should the situation arise.
"Definitely current events because my first job, being on 'The View,' would absolutely demand if I was carrying my weight at that table, that I know everything going on," she said. "I love movies, not old movies but comedies. You need a quote from 'The Hangover,' 'Bridesmaids,' 'Girls Trip,' you name it, I'm your girl. So name that quote would be a great category for me."
She also said she was a pro at social media and memes, something which has tripped up some of the Chasers on the show. "I'm like, 'Are you too busy studying that you didn't go on Instagram today?'" she quipped.
As for her trouble spots, Geography would cause some struggle.
"Like, some of the places they find for this game, you would think it wasn't a finite globe. Like, when did that country pop up?" she joked. "There was once a $3 bill somewhere, with a woman on a whale and someone answered it right. Seriously, where did you read that?! The knowledge is just endless."
FYI: The Cook Islands has a $3 bill with a woman riding a shark.
Test your knowledge along with the Chasers and contestants when new episodes of "The Chase" premiere Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.