O'Donnell Bids Adieu to 'The View'
Co-host couldn't agree with ABC on extension terms
O'Donnell's provocative remarks about pop culture and politics have made headlines since she joined the all-female panel in September.
"This has been an amazing experience, and one I wouldn't have traded for the world," she told ABCNews.com, adding that working with co-hosts Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck "has been one of the highlights of my career."
"But my needs for the future just didn't dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me," she added. "To all the viewers out there, I just want to say 'thank you' for opening up your hearts and your homes to me this past year. But you can always find me at rosie.com. Here's hoping there's more confetti for all of us going forward."
Brian Frons, president of daytime programming for the Disney-ABC Television Group, told ABCNews.com that O'Donnell's departure is due to a lack of agreement on contractual issues.
"Going in we knew we would have an amazing year with her, and that anything beyond that would be gravy," he said. "But we were willing to take the chance because we understood what a coup it was to entice Ro back to daytime television. So here we are a year later, and while we've tried to come to terms on a deal that would extend her co-hosting duties on 'The View,' we find ourselves unable to agree on some key elements."
Speculation about O'Donnell's plans had mounted in recent weeks, as the 45-year-old comedian had only committed to one season on "The View." And while she has drawn sharp criticism from conservatives during her tenure for her denunciations of the Bush Administration, the program enjoyed a sharp uptick in the ratings, gaining 500,000 viewers so far this season. Rival networks and syndicators began speculating that O'Donnell could be persuaded to headline her own show again.
In a statement to ABC News, Walters credited O'Donnell with giving the program "new vigor, new excitement and wonderful hours of television."
"I am very sad that ABC Daytime could not reach an agreement with her for a second year," the statement reads. "We will all miss Rosie on 'The View,' and hope she will be back with us often next season. She remains for me a cherished friend and colleague."
O'Donnell's departure now will force ABC to dramatically reconstitute the show's panel, which has been missing a fifth co-host since Star Jones Reynolds' acrimonious exit last year. She was never permanently replaced, and until recently producers said they felt no need to hire someone permanently.