With reports of Rosie O’Donnell‘s return to The View growing louder and more detailed, Fox News Channel this morning had vacationing Elisabeth Hasselbeck call in to say Rosie has not changed from her previous, short, unhappy time on the ABC talk show, and was calling the shots on the episodes leading up to Barbara Walters’ retirement as The View’s on-air Den Mom.
“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, Hasselbeck said this morning on Fox & Friends.
When The View collected all of its past and present co-hosts for Walters’ penultimate episode, Rosie told her she “produced the reunion show,” Hasselbeck said.
“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? Here’s the shocker, it was actually her ‘Hello Show.’”
Hasselbeck also said O’Donnell “seemed to have a lot of control for Barbara’s farewell show.”
For days now, the media has been chasing this The View Is Out Of New Ideas story, in which O’Donnell, who famously exited the show after just one season, is coming back. 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.
According to some insiders, O’Donnell’s insisting on having veto power over other potential co-hosts and has ruled out any reality-show stars — which 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. ABC continues to decline to comment except to say that all reports are speculation.
Press reports that Rosie wants final vote on other recruits do not surprise Hasselbeck, who forecasts fireworks between Rosie and Whoopi Goldberg:
“Anybody who’s going to be in that seat, if indeed it’s all going to play out as I think it will or already has, will have to be approved by Rosie. Let’s not forget Whoopi Goldberg is sitting there and Whoopi is not going to let anyone control her…She has actually more trophy…than Rosie – she’s the leader on that show. I’m going to be very interested to see how that goes.”
Hasselbeck said for the record she’s wildly happy at Fox & Friends and has no thoughts of returning to The View, adding, “I could not be more thankful to be at Fox & Friends…Mark my words, this is just the beginning again.” Actually, nobody’s been suggesting Hasselbeck might be returning to The View — that speculation has focused on Palin — though Palin’s recent comments about an urgent need to impeach President Obama would seem to rule her out as co-host of a daytime talker on a Disney program — Disney owning ABC.
Speculation about new co-hosts got white hot when Shepherd announced she was done, after seven seasons, following which Jenny McCarthy said she’s out too, leaving Whoopi the sole remaining co-host — Walters having stepped down from on-air duties in May.
O’Donnell hire has a maximum drama — she having left under a cloud after her short ’06 – ’07 run, where she famously clashed with Walters and Hasselbeck, not to mention Donald Trump.
In February, Rosie returned to The View for the first time since her headline-grabbing bow-out in 2007. Show co-exec producer and, back then, still on-air Den Mom Barbara Walters explained it was the perfect time to bury the hatchet because it was “Valentine’s time, heart — everything — to catch up.” It also was National Wear Red Day — a plug for women’s health issues, heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., according to a study. The Ladies of The View are wearing red. Rosie had a major heart attack a couple years ago. Match made in heaven.
“It’s good to have you back on the couch,” Babs said that day. “It feels kinda weird – but good weird,” Rosie said. They talked about her heart attack. They talked about her wife’s cancer. They talked about Rosie’s kids. “I have known you for a long time, and there are things we disagree on,” Walters says. “One thing I never disagreed: You’ve been a wonderful mother.”
So well was it going, Babs invited Rosie to do the Hot Topics segment with them. “Don’t worry, I’ll be good,” Rosie whispered to Babs as they cut to commercial. “I’m not worried,” Babs whispered back. ”Is Hasselbeck here? Just checking!” Rosie snarked as Hot Topics got underway.
“How did I do on that one?” O’Donnell asked the audience after she and The Ladies of The View danced timidly around the news report about Dylan Farrow’s recent blog post detailing her accusations she was abused by Woody Allen when she was 7 years old. Wild applause from the audience for O’Donnell’s performance. “That one was tenacious,” O’Donnell said, patting herself on the back. “It could’ve been bad. … I could’ve said something even worse — but I was editing! It’s my first time back – I’m afraid I’ll be exiled.” Babs assured Rosie she would never again be exiled. To recap: Rosie hasn’t been on the show since 2007.
Since then, she’s shopped a new syndicated talk show, lobbied to replace Bob Barker on The Price Is Right, and put in five low-rated months as host of an OWN talk show.
And, speaking of The View co-host recycling, word is Joy Behar may be back in a part-time gig. Check out the clip: