‘The View’: Barbara Walters Called the On-Air Argument Between These 2 Co-Hosts ‘Horrendous to Watch’

Barbara Walters may not have realized when she launched The View in 1997 that she would encounter revolving co-hosts over the years. When Rosie O’Donnell joined the panel in 2006 after the tumultuous departure of Star Jones, Walters was hoping for good chemistry with her and panelists Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The legendary journalist soon discovered it wouldn’t be smooth sailing amongst her colleagues.

TV personality Barbara Walters attends the 2015 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Barbara Walters | Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Rosie O’Donnell had several feuds with other TV personalities while on ‘The View’

O’Donnell’s infamous feud with Donald Trump began after she debuted as moderator of The View in 2006, which caused tension between herself and Walters. Yet Walters revealed the back-and-forth between Trump and O’Donnell caused a spike in ratings, prompting her new co-host to dive in to some side skirmishes with other famous personalities.

“If the result of the Trump feud was higher ratings, it also meant that now Rosie seemed to be enjoying feuds,” Walters wrote in her 2008 memoir Audition. “She had a little feud with Kelly Ripa, another with Paula Abdul and her show, American Idol, and a bigger one with Bill O’Reilly, who began to call on his own program for her to be fired.”

Walters also saw continuing discord between O’Donnell and Hasselbeck, who had opposing political views.

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“[O’Donnell] also, almost daily, attacked President Bush and condemned the invasion of Iraq,” Walters recalled. “Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who supported Bush, reacted strongly and she and Rosie faced off time and again on the air. But it never became personal.”

Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck battled it out on ‘The View’

Apparently, the debates between O’Donnell and Hasselbeck soon did become personal and continued to escalate.

“As the weeks rolled on, the program became more and more political, and Rosie became more and more controversial,” Walters explained. “We were the talk of the industry. Like her or hate her, you could not stop watching Rosie. The network, though, was beginning to be uncomfortable.”

On May 23, 2007, a conversation that began with Behar saying Bush should be impeached prompted Hasselbeck to defend him, setting off O’Donnell. Hasselbeck and The View moderator’s disagreement snowballed into an all-out battle.

“Tempers became inflamed,” Walters remarked. “There was name-calling and shouting. The accusations back and forth grew stronger. It was horrendous to watch. I know. I was not on the program that day, but I was at home watching.”

‘The View’ argument between Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck made headlines

Though Walters tried to quell the situation by calling the control room from home, there was little she could do at that point. After going to commercial, the show seemed to get back on track, yet the damage had been done.

“That night every news program carried the screaming match, as did all the morning news program,” Walters said. “Everyone loved this catfight of all catfights. Elisabeth was in despair. Rosie, I am sure, must also have been miserable.”

O’Donnell had planned on leaving The View at the end of the season, but decided to move up her exit after her debacle with Hasselbeck.

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“I felt exhausted and sad,” Walters admitted. “I emailed Rosie and said so. ‘I am very sorry that you decided not to come back, but you must have felt it best for you and your family – I want you to know that my admiration and affection for you will remain unchanged.'” She added, “I meant it.”