Right show — wrong Rosie!
Less than a month after ABC News shot down a trade scoop that Rosie Perez would be the panelist leaving The View, it has confirmed Rosie O’Donnell is exiting. She will continue to co-host the show through next week.
“Rosie is an immensely talented star who comes in each and every morning brimming with ideas, excitement and passion for the show,” ABC News said in a statement. “When she told us that she wanted to exit The View, we respected and understood her desire to put her well-being and her family first. We’re delighted she’s still part of the ABC family with upcoming guest appearances on The Fosters. And we know she’ll return to The View often with her unique point of view and updates on her work and her family.”
This marks the second short stint as co-host for the opinionated and left-leaning O’Donnell. She originally joined The View in September 2006, replacing Meredith Vieria in the show’s air-traffic-controller chair. Back in those days, Barbara Walters was the show’s Den Mother and Rosie’s run ended after one acrimonious, headline-grabbing season, with ABC Entertainment — which then oversaw the show — saying the sides could not agree on terms of a contract extension. Rosie reappeared in Walters’ final few episodes which, story goes, so impressed ABC bigwigs they asked her to make a much-ballyhooed return to the show in September — which was greeted by a big ratings kick.
In tonight’s announcement, ABC News did not say who it was mulling to replace O’Donnell. But given that the news unit inherited this panel when it took over the show in late October — just once month after the new cast had been announced — it would not be surprising if it went with someone with a news background.
Meanwhile, O’Donnell’s personal rep Cindi Berger offered up a reason why the co-host is leaving. “Rosie and her wife Michelle split in November,” Berger said in a statement tonight. “Rosie has teens and an infant at home that need her attention. … She is putting her personal health and family first. ABC has been wonderfully understanding and supportive of her personal decision to leave The View. Next week will be her last.”
There’s been no shortage of news coming out ABC’s stalwart daytime program lately. On Tuesday, Naya Rivera was confirmed to be returning as a guest host and is expected to do several more episodes. She did two appearances in November and two in December — nearly all of them producing sound bites that have gone viral, boosting The View‘s social media presence. News of Rosie’s departure once again flipped the On switch to talk about the show’s ratings. Season to date, The View is outperforming CBS’ The Talk in all key demos: Total Viewers (+238,000), Women 25-54 (+34,000) and Women 18-49 (+46,000). Last week the show clocked its biggest total viewer lead over The Talk in six weeks.
That was followed by the rumors last month that newbie co-host Rosie Perez would be exiting. ABC News said at the time: “Rosie Perez is currently in rehearsal for her Broadway play for the month of January. Her status with the show has not changed.” But View-watchers noticed that the statement did not address Perez’s long-term future on the show. She has a one-year contract, but at least one person with knowledge of the situation suggested we not bet the farm on Perez returning when rehearsals are concluded for Larry David’s play Fish In The Dark. Perez in fact did return to The View — just this past Monday. Dinging all those reporters who’d said Perez might be toast, Goldberg had closed out this past Monday’s show telling viewers, “I think something should be said about the four of us being back together.”
Standing onstage with O’Donnell, Perez and the other newcomer to the table, former Bush II communications director Nicolle Wallace. “You will hear a lot of rumors – you’ve heard a lot of rumors. But we are here. This is The View, y’all.”
Amid all the turmoil and turnover involving the show’s stars, its competition has been biting into The View‘s viewership. Season to date, The View is outperforming CBS’ The Talk in all key demos: Total Viewers (+238,000), Women 25-54 (+34,000) and Women 18-49 (+46,000). And, last week the show clocked its biggest total viewer lead over The Talk in six weeks. But, the CBS’ rival gabfest beat ABC’s show for the first time in its four-year history during the week of January 11. Talk drew an average of 2.95 million viewers that week — a small but psychologically significant 2% jump over the 2.88 million The View pulled over the same period. Page Six broke the O’Donnell news tonight.