“They thrive on ratings and she’ll probably bring ratings. She’s very edgy — there’ s a certain amount of danger to Rosie, and they’re looking to soup up the show,” fellow The View co-host Joy Behar told Don Lemon on CNN, the night before ABC finally gave up trying to keep O’Donnell’s re-hire under wraps.
Behar’s comments came hours after yet another ex-co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck savaged O’Donnell’s return: “Here in comes to The View the very woman who’s spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network, and, really spit in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there – coming back with a bunch of control, ready to regain The View with a seat at that table,” vacationing Hasselbeck phoned in yesterday to her new show, Fox & Friends, specifically to say. Hasselbeck claimed that when The View collected all of its past and present co-hosts for Walters’ penultimate episode, Rosie told her she’d “produced the reunion show.”
“Go back to the reunion show for Barbara, how odd is this? When you have a woman who again insinuated that our own troops are terrorists in Iraq at the time, [who] left the show…while still at the end of her contract – to have such ease the day of Barbara’s goodbye show was shocking to me. She walked around with a lot of control and then when I had the chance to talk to her, Rosie herself, told me, on-set while we were mic-ed up, that she produced the reunion show to have everybody together and that it was her idea. Now, do you think the woman who left the way that she did would be producing Barbara’s goodbye show?”
Hasselbeck also said O’Donnell “seemed to have a lot of control for Barbara’s farewell show.”
Hours later, on CNN, Behar called Hasselbeck’s comments “below the belt,” “hate-filled,” and “dangerous” — noting one of Rosie’s children is now at The Citadel military college.
For days, the media had been chasing this The View Is Out Of New Ideas story, in which O’Donnell, who famously exited the show after just one season, had been signed to return. Another chapter of this story has former VPOTUS candidate/current reality-TV star/FNC contributor Sarah Palin pitching to take The Conservative Chair on the daytime talker — though O’Donnell’s reported insistence on having veto power over other potential co-hosts and ruled out any reality-show stars would seem to be directed at Palin. The View now needs to replace not only Walters, but Sherri Shepherd, who announced to Deadline a couple weeks back that she was done co-hosting the show, and Jenny McCarthy, who’s contract was not being renewed. According to some reports by people with knowledge of the situation, conservative Meghan McCain — a Pivot network co-host and daughter of Sen. John McCain, has also been considered. ABC has declined to comment on other names.