‘The View:’ What This Former Co-Host Regrets Saying to Barbara Walters

ABC’s The View has had its share of co-hosts over the years. With the recent departure of conservative Abby Huntsman, the network execs are once again looking to fill an empty seat at the table.

One former co-host always managed to cause a stir during her two stints as a panelist and has previously shared details on a huge blowout she had with the show’s creator.

“The View’s” Barbara Walters, Lisa Ling, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie O’Donnell, and Sherri Shepherd | Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

War of words

In 2006, show moderator Meredith Vieira left The View to take on the role of co-anchor on NBC’s Today Show. Looking to fill the seat with someone viewers were familiar with, show creator Barbara Walters brought on Rosie O’Donnell to pick up where Vieira left off.

According to Deadline, O’Donnell’s casting brought the show’s ratings up. Yet the tide started to turn in December 2006, when a now infamous feud began between O’Donnell and future President Donald Trump. During the ‘Hot Topics’ segment, the co-hosts planned on addressing a controversy involving Tara Conner, the winner of the Miss U.S.A. pageant. Trump was the owner of the contest at the time, where O’Donnell saw an opportunity to air some of her opinions on the real estate mogul.

“My memory of it was she took over the stage and went crazy on him,” co-host Joy Behar recalled, according to Vanity Fair. “She pulled her hair over and made comments about his infidelities and his money, which probably really freaked him out… But it was funny. I enjoyed sitting there and watching it. It was a fabulous show.”

Not in Trump’s opinion. He went on full attack mode against O’Donnell, appearing on more than 20 programs to malign the co-host calling her names including  ‘fat little Rosie,’ ‘stupid,’ and ‘unattractive,’ as reported by Vanity Fair.

Felt no backup from Barbara

In January 2007, the negative onslaught from Trump was overwhelming O’Donnell. She felt Walters, who had a friendship with The Apprentice star and had publicly remained neutral on the feud, should have been doing more to back her up. “Rosie wanted to be defended,” Behar said. 

At one point, O’Donnell reportedly blew up at Walters. “I definitely yelled,” O’Donnell recalled. “I said how disappointed I was and how shocked and hurt I was that she wouldn’t stand up for me. I felt very betrayed about her going behind my back and speaking to Donald Trump in Trumpian language.”

O’Donnell revealed she stepped over the line in her anger at Walters. “I said something about her daughter, which I should not have said. But I did.” O’Donnell admitted, saying she called Walters a bad mother. “No wonder Jackie can’t stand you,” she yelled at the show creator, referencing Walters’ daughter.

Bill Geddie, executive producer of The View at the time, decided to step in. “I can’t tell you everything she said, but it was nasty,” he said of O’Donnell’s rant. “And she does it for about 40 seconds, maybe a minute. I finally said, ‘Enough. You can’t talk to her anymore like this.’ And she turned on me, saying how much she hated me for a variety of reasons.”

The aftermath

When Trump continued his vitriol on O’Donnell, Variety reported that Walters finally cut ties with him but the relationship between the two women had been damaged beyond repair. “This was a power struggle for the heart of the show,” Geddie said. 

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Walters wanted O’Donnell out, and the Sleepless in Seattle star exited The View in 2007 after an on-air blowout with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She returned for a brief stint from 2014 to 2015 but once again left the show after more contention with her co-hosts, particularly Whoopi Goldberg.

Last October, O’Donnell had only praise for her former boss. “I’ll always love and respect her and I think she’s a great person,” O’Donnell told Us Weekly of Walters.

Needless to say, it most likely will not be O’Donnell filling the current empty seat at The View’s table.