Knives Come Out on ‘The View’

Jun 28, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Barbara Walters opened “The View” Wednesday without Star Jones Reynolds, somberly reading out a careful explanation about why Ms. Jones Reynolds would not be back.

“It is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table.” Ms. Walters said.

The day before, Ms. Jones Reynolds had surprised her co-hosts and fans by announcing she’d be leaving “The View” after nine years on the show. Ms. Walters on today’s show said Ms. Jones Reynolds had been told that ABC wasn’t going to renew her contract for the daytime hit’s 10th season.

“I feel like I was fired,” Ms. Jones Reynolds said in an online People magazine article that was published before yesterday’s show ended, signaling she had given the magazine the scoop.

Ms. Walters today said ABC had planned to let Ms. Jones Reynolds characterize her departure to minimize any embarrassment. Ms. Jones Reynolds deviated from the script by announcing her departure the day before, Ms. Walters said.

“I love Star and I was trying to do everything I possibly could — up until this morning when I was betrayed — to protect her,” Ms. Walters told The Associated Press after Tuesday’s show.

Ms. Jones Reynolds’ early announcement denied her the opportunity to leave the show with dignity, Ms. Walters said.

“We didn’t expect her to make this statement yesterday,” Ms. Walters said Wednesday on the show. “She gave us no warning. And we were taken by surprise. But the truth is that Star has known for months that ABC did not want to renew her contract and that she would not be asked back in the fall.

“The network made this decision based on a variety of reasons which I won’t go into now. But we were never going to say this. We wanted to protect Star. And so we told her that she could say whatever she wanted about why she was leaving and that we would back her up.”

Having gone public with the network’s side of the story, Ms. Walters wished Ms. Jones Reynolds well.

“‘The View’ helped make Star a star, and Star helped make ‘The View’ the success that it is,” Ms. Walters said.

Before the show was over Wednesday, the network ran a joyous promotional spot about the Sept. 5 arrival of Rosie O’Donnell as the replacement for Meredith Vieira, who is going to NBC’s “Today” morning show to replace Katie Couric.

There still is no word from Ms. Walters or ABC about whether a replacement for Ms. Jones Reynolds will be named.