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Rosie’s ‘View’ won’t be the same without her

Love or hate Rosie O’Donnell, she got some interesting conversations going on the talk show. We now know that passionate people with issues make for good TV no matter what time of day it is. By Miki Turner
/ Source: contributor

Meow. The reign of Rosie is over.

I guess we should have expected that a woman who would take the day off to celebrate her life partner’s 40th birthday — when she basically only has to work about an hour a day — would be the same kind of gal who would have the courage of her convictions and leave that gig purportedly over the sparring match beamed around the world.

Two days after her heated debate with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck comes word that Rosie O’Donnell is leaving “The View.” Her sudden departure from the morning chat fest she had anchored since last September comes three weeks ahead of her planned exit.

She said she didn’t want to fight with Hasselbeck any more and now she won’t have to — at least not on TV.

The Disney statement read: “We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave. Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to ‘The View’ and wish her well.”

While it is less surprising than the “take this job and shove it” exodus of her predecessor, Star Jones Reynolds, it’s just as jarring.

Apparently neither Rosie or Star got the memo about daytime TV.

Everyone is supposed to play nice.  You’re supposed to save all the drama for the soaps!

But you can bet that all the stay-at-home moms, all the college students packing up for the summer and those of us on the left coast who wanted to sleep late but got tipped off about a knock-down, drag-out fight on “The View” from friends on the East Coast, were totally appreciative to be ringside for Rosie vs. Elisabeth, Round 625.

I’d rather watch a good verbal beat down than Mayweather vs. De La Hoya any day.

Joy gets the party startedOn Wednesday, it all started with Joy Behar’s Bush-bashing laundry list. You could see the pre-natal veins in Hasselbeck’s head starting to protrude, especially after Behar accused Bush of stealing the election in 2000. The further down the list Behar got, the more agitated Hasselbeck became. 

After a short series of soft punches from Hasselbeck — remember her using TiVo as a defense on why she chose to watch “Dancing With the Stars” as opposed to Al Gore on CNN? — it became painfully apparent that Behar was going to win that round. Not one of Hasselback’s jabs landed.

Meanwhile, we have O’Donnell in the opposite corner stewing. Her lips are probably still sore because her pearly whites were obviously clamping down on them. But when Hasselbeck began defending the war, Mt. St. O’Donnell blew.

“The enemy is in Iraq? Did Iraq attack us?”

Honey, get the popcorn! It’s about to go down!

You could kind of see it coming because O’Donnell, who referred to herself as a “big fat loud lesbian” on Wednesday’s show, had been abnormally quiet throughout the entire Behar vs. Hasselbeck undercard. O’Donnell had been on the show long enough to know that it’s lose-lose any time she shares her opinions in that public forum.

Especially when Barbara Walters isn’t there to be the voice of calm and reason.

The problem with O’Donnell is that her self-avowed description of herself alienates a lot of the nice people who prefer more sanitized programming before lunch. They want to hear mindless banter about clothes, nutrition, weight loss, hot guys. But O’Donnell, who wears her gayness proudly and loudly and moderates the discussions on the show’s “Hot Topics” segments, like to discuss issues so flaming that even Walters’ reactions have become increasingly more subjective.

That’s why O’Donnell consistently finds herself vilified in the press when she attacks “innocent pure Christian Elisabeth.” If the two of them were selling soap, it’s probably safe to assume that many Americans would prefer buying it from a pretty blonde whose values are more morally sound.

Grow up, ElizabethYet, at the risk of sounding overtly judgmental, I don’t really care for Hasselbeck. It’s nothing personal because I’ve never met her. I just don’t think she adds anything to the show and she’s a little too whiny for that time of day. She has that kind of voice that brings back memories of fingernails screeching on the chalkboard. I kind of wish she would have triplets and move to that rural area in Ohio that Dave Chappelle calls home.

Like Dave, she’s got some growing to do.

What truly amazes me, however, is that it apparently hasn’t occurred to Hasselbeck that she’s one of the only people in the country — blind, crippled, crazy or Republican — that still defends Bush and the war in Iraq.

You don’t have to ride the current wave, jump on the Al Sharpton bandwagon or be a hater — that certainly won’t get you that coveted invite to the state dinner for Queen Elizabeth — but, dang get a clue already!

Conversely, I’m fairly indifferent when it comes to O’Donnell. I think she must like the taste of her own toes because she puts her foot in her mouth a lot. I think she was wrong for mocking the Chinese language and perhaps should have suffered harsher consequences when she claimed it was all in the name of comedy. And I was over that whole Donald Trump feud the day before it actually started.

The difference between O’Donnell and Hasselbeck is that even though you may not always agree with either of them, at the end of the day you still have some respect for O’Donnell’s convictions. It takes a lot of courage to out yourself on national TV — and I’m not talking about her sexuality.

And, when it comes to politics and friendship, I’m often on the same page with Ms. Ro.

That’s why I knew that O’Donnell was hurting that day even before she asked Hasselbeck if she had been there for her every time she’d been slammed in the press. This feud, which actually started Monday when Republican pundits criticized O’Donnell for insinuating that the U.S. troops in Iraq were the true terrorists, went a lot deeper than a heated debate over politics and war.

Hurt feelings rule the dayO’Donnell may be loud, but she appears to be a little insecure, too. In her world true friends stand up for and stand by each other. And while Rosie, who considered Hasselbeck a friend, might not take a bullet for her, she’d probably push her out the way. That’s why when Hasselbeck couldn’t or wouldn’t answer O’Donnell’s question about whether she felt O’Donnell believed our troops were terrorists, it was like a dart to the heart.

In her defense, however, Hasselbeck did say she didn’t believe O’Donnell felt that way, but O’Donnell had stepped aboard a fast moving train, leaving her friend behind at the depot. This is a scenario that plays out in the lives of millions of people daily. Feelings get hurt, your hearing becomes more selective and the claws come out.

Before you know it, things have been said and regrets have been realized. And women, particularly, sometimes have problems getting over things in a timely manner.

Ladies, didn’t we learn anything from Paris and Nicole?

There’s no way of telling what will happen to O’Donnell and Hasselbeck’s friendship. O’Donnell did say in that ABC statement that “she loved all three women,” but that could have been the expressed sentiment of some summer intern.

Personally, however, I’m pretty bummed O’Donnell is not coming back to enjoy the view. I was looking forward to her return on Tuesday.

First, I wanted to hear how I could get a day off to celebrate my man’s birthday and still have a job upon my return to work. Second, I wanted to see how O’Donnell and Hasselbeck were going to interact with each other while sitting on opposite ends of the desk. If it got ugly, I’d have to go with Ro for the first round TKO. Were they going to play pretty or was it going to play like a scene from “General Hospital.”

You would hope cooler heads would prevail, but it is a sweeps month.

But you know what? A few good things did come out of this fracas. One, most of America learned that more than 655,000 innocent Iraqis had been killed in this senseless war. That is bound to challenge the way the people who support this war and this administration think. Two, we now know that passionate people with issues make for good TV no matter what time of day it is. Three, skin is thin. People on TV should wear leather jackets. O’Donnell called Hasselbeck a coward, but she’s the one who will be sitting in that chair when the show resumes it’s live schedule on Tuesday morning.

And lastly, since the view from “The View” has become so incredibly murky that it’s probably time to close the blinds. If not, the aging Walters might have the unenviable task of replacing herself.

Miki Turner is a freelance TV producer/writer in Los Angeles. She can be reached at .