The View by Heidi Gutman/ABC
is going to miss Rosie O'Donnell a lot more than I will. That's a minority viewpoint in this office and elsewhere, I'm sure, although there's no question she is a polarizing figure for many: personally and politically, she's all about ruffling feathers. This can make for good, or at least provocative, TV, which is why
will miss her... a point made quite clear Wednesday morning, when Rosie announced she wasn't able to work out a deal with ABC Daytime to continue beyond her one-year contract negotiations that Barbara Walters pointedly insisted did not not involve her; "This was not my doing and not my choice," she said.
Rosie tried to cushion the blow right off the bat, upon reflecting on the "breaking news" (as she put it ironically) by saying her association with
is not altogether over. She promises to continue to guest-host, to do hourlong specials on issues that matter to her, and otherwise remain a part of the family. Just not a full-time member: "I'm not going away. I'm just not going to be here every day."
Walters, Joy Behar, even Rosie's conservative nemesis and punching bag Elisabeth Hasselbeck, all made the proper noises of mourning the end of what no one can deny has been an "exciting" year for the show, with a ratings upsurge to prove it. With Rosie on board stirring things up, people have been talking about
in a way they rarely have since this squawk show began 10 years ago.
Rosie brings an energy and vitality to everything she does. She also doesn't know when or how to turn it off. She is electrifying, and she is her own worst enemy. Since she joined the roundtable, I've jokingly referred to the show as "The View from Afar," because I can only take it, and her, in small doses (sitting as far away from the set and with the volume as low as possible to lessen the intensity). The self-absorption and the stridency of her demeanor as she sits atop
's bully pulpit turns me off, even when I agree with what she's saying and applaud the freedom the show gives her and the rest of the gang to express their uninhibited points of view.
's sake (not mine), I'm sorry she isn't sticking around longer. (And if this means she's going to pursue a revival of her own solo talk show, at least I can put that on my long list of things to avoid in daytime. Personally, I'm all about
But this transition does provide a fascinating challenge for the show's management, and I'll be fascinated to see who they get to take over the hot seat. Will Rosie's replacement be more of a den mother, like Meredith Vieira, or another professional lightning rod? Here's a scary thought: Do you think Roseanne is looking for steady work?