For the second time in less than nine years, Rosie O’Donnell said so long to The View today.
“I just wanted to say thank you to all the cast here and the crew — and mostly to Barbara
Walters, who has always looked out for me and my life and career and is an amazing woman,” O’Donnell said at the close of today’s broadcast on ABC. “We had lunch yesterday and she sends her love, and I want to thank her for making this show and letting me be on it — twice!”
O’Donnell promised/warned she’d come back to do an occasional crafting segment, then shouted out a plug for her Sunday HBO comedy special as confetti dropped and the studio audience chanted, “Rosie! Rosie!”
Early in today’s broadcast, Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson became the first person on the ABC News program to interview O’Donnell about the circumstances of her departure. Thompson came to plug SNL’s 40th anniversary special on NBC, in the course of which Whoopi Goldberg told him it was always a pleasure having him on The View and asked if he’d come around more often.
“My new replacement — Kenan!” O’Donnell joked.
“Why are you leaving?” Thompson asked, rushing in where others appeared to fear to tread.
“I got a lot of stress, hon,” O’Donnell replied. “I got some home stuff going on, I got some kid stuff going on. I got to turn down the stress in some area.”
“Can you handle and come back?” he responded — a follow-up question!
“Maybe,” she said.
The news broke late Friday and was noticeably not discussed on Monday’s broadcast, though O’Donnell was there and could have taken questions about the, you know, news. Instead, O’Donnell was allowed to give her version of what happened, sans questions, on YouTube:
“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 last Friday, confirming that O’Donnell was leaving. “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 outspoken O’Donnell. She originally joined The View in September 2006, replacing Meredith Vieira in the show’s air-traffic-controller chair. Back in those days, 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 for 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 brought big ratings.
Last last month, a rumor erupted that newbie co-host Rosie Perez would be exiting, while she was taking a previously-announced leave. 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. 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.”