And so Rosie O’Donnell is out at The View, leaving when her contract expires in mid-June, according to today’s announcement. It’s sad news for fans of unexpectedly in-your-face happy-talk morning TV, but if you were paying attention, you’d have seen it coming. Lloyd Grove profiled View creator Barbara Walters in New York recently, and he questioned how much longer O’Donnell would be with the show:
O’Donnell’s arrival in September — to replace the deferential Vieira as moderator — has been unquestionably a success. She has been credited with an over 20 percent hike in the ratings in the key 18-to-49 female demographic, which has fueled speculation about her bright future on daytime TV. Will ABC cash out Walters’s stake and retire her in favor of O’Donnell, who, after all, had her own very successful show from 1996 to 2002? The betting in Las Vegas at last month’s programming-executives convention was that O’Donnell will leave soon to launch her own show for either ABC or a major syndicator. At minimum, O’Donnell — who’s said to be pulling down nearly $3 million from The View, about twice what Vieira was paid — will likely be demanding a big raise.
Both [producer Bill] Geddie and Brian Frons, the head of ABC Daytime, are uncomfortably in the dark about O’Donnell’s intentions. “I have absolutely no idea, I really don’t know,” Geddie says. “I hope she stays. I think we all hope she stays. I know there are many opportunities for her now.”
So let’s just sit tight and see where she ends up next.