Rosie O’Donnell Leaving ‘The View’

Apr 25, 2007  •  Post A Comment

What do you think about Rosie’s decision? Leave your comments and join the discussion here.

Rosie O’Donnell and “The View” are parting ways after working together only one season punctuated by many ratings-boosting feuds and heated exchanges between the out-spoken Ms. O’Donnell and a long list of people including members of the “View” family.

Ms. O’Donnell said on the ABC show Wednesday that she will remain with the show through June and return as an occasional guest and to do specials on favorite subjects such as autism.

Ms. O’Donnell said the development is “not sad,” but Barbara Walters, who created “The View” more than a decade ago, said, “I am sad because I induced you to come here.”

A story that broke on ABCNews.com Wednesday morning, said the ABC daytime division and Ms. O’Donnell were “unable to come to a contractual agreement” to extend Ms. O’Donnell’s continued daily presence on the show.

Ms. Walters, who became a lightning rod when Star Jones left the show in 2006 and bared behind-the-scenes machinations that didn’t match what was said on the air, moved to forestall a repeat Wednesday, saying she wanted to “make one thing perfectly clear.”

“I did not participate in the negotiations with Rosie. It was ABC Daytime. I’m going to read, oh, I did this and I did that, and it brings back a lot of other things I was accused of doing and did not do. It was between your representatives and ABC Daytime,” Ms. Walters said. “It was not my doing. It was not my choice.”

Ms. O’Donnell was hired to succeed Meredith Vieira, who was hired last year to replace Katie Couric on NBC’s “Today” show.

In the ABCNews.com story, Brian Frons, president of daytime programming for the Disney-ABC Television Group, said that when the deal was made last year to bring Ms. O’Donnell back to TV, “we knew we would have an amazing year with her, and that anything beyond that would be gravy. But we were willing to take the chance because we understood what a coup it was to entice Ro back to daytime television. So here we are a year later, and while we’ve tried to come to terms on a deal that would extend her co-hosting duties on ‘The View,’ we find ourselves unable to agree on some key elements.”

Sources with the ABC-Disney family said the big deal breaker was money and that Ms. O’Donnell wanted lots of it.

There have been industry rumors for months that Ms. O’Donnell wanted to return to daytime as host of her own show, perhaps even working again with Warner Bros. and its Telepictures Productions division, which syndicated her first talk show, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” for six years until she walked away from the show in 2002.

Last January, TelevisionWeek reported that Ms. O’Donnell was expected to “take her first steps toward returning to a solo talk show in the next four to six months,” but that first she was contractually bound to negotiate in good faith with Disney-ABC.

In his published statement Wednesday, Mr. Frons said that the network knew all along that Ms. O’Donnell’s departure after a year “was a real possibility.”

“So we part as friends, and hope that we can entice Rosie back next year to take part in a series of one-hour specials for us like our recent show on autism. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to convince her to guest co-host once in a while as well,” he said.

Ms. Walters said on the air: “We have not thought about a replacement.”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the young, conservative co-host of “The View,” and a frequent target of Ms. O’Donnell’s take-no-prisoners style of rhetoric, said on the show: “I think I’m in denial. I just feel like we’ve had such good conversation. I can’t say it enough. You are such a catalyst. You know just how to [making a stabbing gesture toward Ms. O’Donnell] get in there. We’ve just taken off the shackles and really just had some pure, honest conversation here.”

“We have had, to say the least, an interesting year,” Ms. Walters said using words like “exciting” and “fun-filled.”

“We have all loved it,” Ms. Walters said. “You will be missed very much.”

What do you think about Rosie’s decision? Leave your comments and join the discussion here.