O'Donnell Fades From 'View'
Co-host leaving three weeks ahead of schedule
Following the latest and perhaps most intense in a series of heated debates with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck earlier this week, ABC announced Friday that O'Donnell would not be back on the show (she was originally scheduled to depart on June 20). O'Donnell herself made the call, according to a statement by ABC Daytime chief Brian Frons.
"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," Frons says. "Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well."
O'Donnell's departure comes two days after she and Hasselbeck got into another of their verbal smackdowns. What started as a discussion of the Iraq war eventually turned somewhat personal, with co-host Joy Behar and guest Sherri Shepherd looking deeply uncomfortable as the argument wore on.
It turned out to be the final YouTube-worthy moment of O'Donnell's tenure on the show, which has included numerous sparring sessions with Hasselbeck and a running feud with Donald Trump. O'Donnell's presence also led to a rise in ratings for the show.
"View" creator and executive producer Barbara Walters also thanked O'Donnell for her time on the show, saying, "Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at 'The View.' I am most appreciative. Our close and affectionate relationship will not change."
O'Donnell, for her part, says she's "extremely grateful" for her time on the show: "It's been an amazing year and I love all three women."