Less than a year after announcing she would return to The View for a second run, Rosie O’Donnell has decided to again walk away, and now some insiders believe it’s because producers devalued her opinion, leaving her with little control.
In an interview on Friday, Rosie cited her health as a key factor in her decision to head for greener pastures. Also with that announcement, was a revelation she was separating from her wife, Michelle Rounds.
“My health got a little bit worse right before the holidays — my doctor was kind of concerned,” O’Donnell insisted. “I can’t really fix my personal life right away, but I can fix my job.”
She continued: “So I spoke to them at ABC, and I told them, and they understood… They’ve been unbelievably supportive and loving.”
Despite her assertion that her doctors have advised her to take it easy to focus on health and family, insiders paint a different picture, and say it was actually Rosie’s unhappiness with her lack of control during the show’s 18th season that led her to announce she would exiting after only five months, according to Variety.
Per insiders, Rosie, who was accustomed to dictating the format for her original series, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, (1996-2002) reportedly constantly cited her previous experiences and awards in meetings as proof that her input should be taken seriously.
During her original 2006-2007 run on the series, Rosie served as The View’s moderator, but now her co-host and rumored arch-nemesis, Whoopi Goldberg, sits in that chair every morning, and that apparently hasn’t gone over well.
According to Variety, insiders say this has become a constant source of frustration for O’Donnell, as she felt Goldberg was dismissive of opposing viewpoints during some of the show’s most fiery debates.
One instance in which Rosie was figuratively put in her place occurred as recently as December 18 of last year, when Rosie bore the brunt of a tongue-lashing from Whoopi in a disagreement about racism.
“I’ve been black for 60 years… You are a white lady telling me what is racist,” Whoopi said to Rosie. The look in Rosie’s eyes during the segment was one that certainly resembled contempt for authority. You decide:
O’Donnell reportedly also wasn’t happy with Goldberg’s refusal to let the rest of the ladies openly discuss topics, such as the allegations of rape against comedian Bill Cosby by more than two dozen women.
During her previous tenure, which was marred with controversy, (mostly created by O’Donnell’s opinions regarding 9/11 conspiracy theories) ratings were up, and the show was hailed as relevant again. Rosie routinely took the floor to lambast opposing views and incite arguments.
Watch Rosie claim NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was “instrumental” in orchestrating the 9/11 cover-up:
A much calmer version of O’Donnell emerged this time around, and over the last year, The View saw a 9% decrease in viewers among its target audience of women, aged 25-54, even struggling to compete with CBS’ rival series, The Talk. “Calm Rosie” was unable to reignite the spark that once had the show on top.
Aside from Rosie having little creative input, troubles within the O’Donnell-Goldberg relationship reportedly came to a head as a result of the show’s morning meetings. The ladies typically met at 9 a.m. prior to filming to brainstorm for the “Hot Topics” segment.
Rosie had the meetings moved to 8:30 because she didn’t think they had enough time to prepare for the 11 a.m. live broadcast.
Whoopi reportedly started showing up late, and the meetings were moved back to their original time, causing Rosie to further ostracize herself from the group.
Those circumstances, along with reported disorganization within the show’s production, and Rosie was ready to hit the road.
ABC has agreed to release her early from her 11-month contract, which is estimated to be worth around $5 million.