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Don’t cry for Rosie…or Barbara

Adubato: Walters made a deal with the broadcast devil by signing up Rosie

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Good riddance to Rosie?
April 25: It’s official— Rosie will leave “The View.” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asks Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe,’s Jennifer Posener, L.A. Times’ Tom O’Neil, and Steve Adubato about Rosie’s impact as co-host.
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Steve Adubato
Media analyst

Don’t shed any tears for Rosie O’Donnell.  She has had a great run for the past year on "The View."  And while you are at it, don’t feel bad for Barbara Walters.  After 10 years, the show that she co-owns with ABC, was headed for obscurity.  Interest was dropping for the daytime show, particularly after Meredith Vieira flew the coop and took a pretty nice gig at the Today show.  Star Jones wasn’t there to kick around any more and tell her off-the-wall stories about that fascinating marriage that apparently she sold sponsorships to.

And although Barbara is an icon -- a giant in the world of broadcasting -- she frankly didn’t have the juice to drive the show anymore.  So what is a media den mother to do to spice up the party?  Rosie wasn’t working at the time.  She always had a lot to say.  She was glad to poke people in the eye, be they colleagues or not, and say the most outrageous, undocumented and quotable things you could imagine.

Whether she was attacking Donald Trump’s comb over and his mishandling of the Miss USA debacle or she was spouting her very odd conspiracy theories as to how World Trade Center Building Number 7 was some sort of an inside job—she was great for news and talk business.  I know it always gave me a place on "Scarborough Country."  Every time Rosie went off, I got a call and we had something to talk about and analyze. 

I’d always wonder what the suits at ABC were thinking.  Sure, the ratings were up considerably, once Rosie took over as “moderator” of the program, but talk about the road kill she left.  There was Elisabeth Hasselbeck crying all the time; Barbara Walters denying that she regretted bringing Rosie on in the first place; Rosie doing an embarrassing and offensive Asian accent and calling for the president’s impeachment.

She railed about the Iraq war, which was fine. That was pretty mainstream, but when she seemed to be overly sympathetic to terrorists who targeted the United States and said that we somehow coerced confessions from them, she was beginning to turn off a lot of people.  But then again, Rosie, just like Imus, could always claim that she wasn’t a serious journalist; she was just a comedian who had some controversial views and opinions.  She also happened to have a great daytime television slot.  And again, the rest of us ate it up.  YouTube had a field day.  Everyone else could grab those sound bytes, run them either in context or not, and then we could talk about Rosie.

Now the gig is up.  Apparently Rosie and the suits at ABC daytime weren’t able to reach a deal; they say it was about contract terms.  It may have been about money, but of course Barbara Walters in the middle of this all made it clear on "The View" this week that this “was not my doing or choice.”  Walters protested way too much; “I’m going to read, ‘I did this and I did that,’ and it brings back a lot of other things that I was accused of doing and did not do.”  (Apparently a reference to the Trump claim that Babs told him she regretted hiring Rosie.) 

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