Rosie's Gone From The View: Will We Ever Really Know Why?
Bombastic comic Rosie O'Donnell confirmed what some media outlets had been reporting almost since she joined The View a year ago: She's leaving the show when her year-long contract expires at the end of June.
TMZ.com broke today's news yesterday in an uncomfirmed report; by late morning, ABC was confirming the news and all the cable channels were all over it.
The only question left: will we ever really know why?
Here's Rosie's spin, delivered just a few minutes ago on The View: "I’ve decided that we couldn’t come to terms with my deal with ABC, so next year I’m not going to be on The View. However, I will be guest hosting, I’ll be doing one-hour specials on autism and depression, things that I'm interested in. I’m just not going to to do the everyday thing. They wanted me three years, I wanted one year…it just didn’t work, and that’s showbiz. But its not sad because I’ve loved it here and I love you guys and I’m not going away, I’m just not going to be here everyday.”
The expected gushing then commenced, with everyone who she dissed and fought with on previous shows talking about how much they love her and will miss her. The only one I really believed was show creator and star Barbara Walters, who seemed misty-eyed at the prospect of losing the one performer who made her midday gabfest relevant again.
Her spin: “I am sad, because I induced you to come here…we have had, to say the least, an interesting year. We’ve had an exciting, fun-filled provocative…we’ve all loved it. You will be missed. I do not participate in the negotiations for Rosie…it was between your representatives and ABC daytime. This is not my doing, or my choice.”
Of course, they all said similar things when Star Jones left the show, even though she was ousted by Walters and the powers that be for her erratic behavior and over-the-top greed in grabbing freebies for her wedding.
Star's biggest problem, really, was that she was nearly as big a pain as Rosie, but didn't generate nearly the media heat or ratings.
CNN had a correspondent from TMZ.com theorizing that O'Donnell was freeing herself up to launch her own talk show in fall 2008. PR machine and mortal O'Donnell enemy Donald Trump wasn't buying it on Fox News, where he insisted Rosie got fired by Walters and ABC over her ribald routine at the tony Matrix awards for women in media Monday.
"She is the most disgusting person," said the always diplomatic Trump just before O'Donnell's announcement. "Rosie's a loser, she continues to be a loser, she was fired by ABC and I'm proud to say I probably had a hand in this."
In his dreams. I'm betting TMZ is closer to the truth. ABC and Walters had plenty of chances to offload O'Donnell for much worse behavior -- inlcuding making fun of the way Chinese people talk on air. And if they were planning to get rid of her, believe me, they would have been auditioning replacements already (they probably haven't done so until now, for fear of scuttling any last-minute chance at a deal). What remains amazing is the undeniable charisma O'Donnell brings to daytime TV, despite a brutal, bullying opinionated style that puts off even those who agree with her.
Two questions left now: Who will replace her? And will they even try to diversify the show by bringing on another person of color?