I nearly jumped out of my chair watching the latest argument between Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasslebeck on The View this past Wednesday. No, their sparring was nothing new, but what was different this time was the unmitigated glee the producers and director of The View seemed to take in prolonging the drama. They used a split screen to show the two squaring off, like a female incarnation of Hannity and Colmes. It was an exploitative move meant to milk every last drop of ratings from Rosie O before she heads off to better things.
By allowing the heated exchange to ramble on for more than 10 minutes, The View’s executives proved just how desperate they are to revive their soon-to-be-irrelevant-again show. A commercial break would have saved both women from the nasty, tabloidization of their “feud”, but then, that would mean less publicity for the show, wouldn’t it?
I would not be surprised if Rosie decided to hang it up and not come back on Monday. The show needs her a lot more than she needs them, and it’s time for her to move on. Her core audience will follow her anywhere, and her next television venture is sure to be a ratings goldmine.
Although Barbara Walters was not on the show when the incident occurred, she IS the one calling the shots over there, and I have no doubt that she condoned the split screen/fan the flames strategy employed by the other producers. She likes to appear as if she’s taking the high road in these situations, but what she’s really doing is allowing others to do her dirty work. BW knew what she was getting when she hired Rosie, has admitted that it has “been a different show this year” with her on it, and that if they win the Daytime Emmy for best cast, it will be due to Rosie’s presence.