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It appears that everything old is new again at ABC’s talk show The View. Rumors have been gaining momentum in recent days that Rosie O’Donnell, the former co-host of the long running daytime series could be returning to the program. This latest news comes on the heels of a major casting shake-up that left two cast members now out of a job.
According to sources, the 52-year-old actress and comedienne is believed to be in strong contract negotiations that could bring O’Donnell back to the show she abruptly quit in 2007 after a very heated on-air feud with then co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Behind the scenes, it is reported that to get Rosie to return to the round table format of hot topics, one very strong condition must be met. According to insiders at the ABC network, Rosie’s arch nemesis behind the scenes of The View was long time executive producer Bill Geddie and he would have to be removed from the show before O’Donnell would even consider returning. It appears that whatever Rosie wants, Rosie gets. Reports indicate that Geddie, who helped create the show with Barbara Walters back in 1997, will no longer be there to oversee the daily editorial content of the show.
Over the past few weeks, The View has been making headlines after Sherri Shepherd, who had been with the program for seven years, found herself at a standstill with the ABC network and The View executives over contract negotiations to return to the show for its 18th season. With the clock continuing to tick on her current deal and with both sides coming to a deadlock, Shepherd found herself out of a job. Immediately following news of Sherri Shepherd, fellow co-host Jenny McCarthy, who had been with the show for just one season, made her own shocking announcement that she too would not be returning. It had been rumored by program insiders that McCarthy struggled to connect with the daytime demographic. Failing to meet expectations and with The View’s sinking ratings, McCarthy was not invited to return to the show. With show moderator Whoopi Goldberg as the only remaining cast member, Rosie O’Donnell, who’s brief but memorable tenure at The View brought the program its highest ratings, could be the magic bullet the show needs if it wants to survive in a landscape of other female driven talk shows with the same format.
Since public feuds with the likes of Donald Trump, Kelly Ripa and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie O’Donnell has been busy since her departure from daytime TV. After trying her hand at a Sirius XM radio show, she was quickly tapped by Oprah Winfrey to head up a new variety-style talk show for the OWN network that quickly crashed and burned. O’Donnell would find herself divorced in 2009 and remarried and would suffer a health scare with a heart attack in the summer of 2012. More recently Rosie O’Donnell has been working steadily appearing in a recurring role on the ABC Family drama The Fosters.
Many wonder if this latest move by executives of The View will resuscitate the show that has been in dire need of life support. With chemistry being key, the casting decisions of who else gets a seat at the table alongside Goldberg and O’Donnell will determine if The View still has better days ahead or if its best days are long gone.
By Hal Banfield