In case you are wondering why The View brought back polarizing Rosie O’Donnell: Monday’s season debut clocked 3.902 million viewers — the show’s biggest opening audience in eight years — which is also since Rosie joined the show the first time back in 2006. Monday’s opening was the long-running show’s second-biggest opening on record and hit a three-year high in target demos of women 18-49 and 25-54 with year-to-year opening leaps of 15% and 20%, respectively. In the younger demo, Monday’s debut logged 683,000 viewers and in the older it posted 911,000.
In addition to O’Donnell, the debut featured last year’s sole surviving panelist Whoopi Goldberg and newcomers Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace. After the show’s glutinous opening, in which The Ladies of The View kissed the ring of Barbara Walters sitting on a throne, a barefoot Rosie announced — of former George W. Bush press wrangler and McCain/Palin campaign strategist Wallace — “I really like her! I swear to god! It’s all real this year. Everything is true — I actually love her!” Wallace looked uncomfortable.