‘The View:’ Why Former Panelist Nicolle Wallace Reported A Fellow Co-Host to HR
ABC’s daytime talk show The View has had a plethora of panels at the table. From journalists to celebrities, various personalities have taken a little time to enjoy the view from the co-host’s seat.
One unlikely team was given a shot in Season 18, which included Whoopi Goldberg, Nicolle Wallace, Rosie Perez, and the returning Rosie O’Donnell. While viewers were surprised at the collaboration, very few were caught off guard when drama began to rear its ugly head, causing Wallace to file a formal complaint.
Joining the ‘View’ crew
Despite a hasty hiring process, Wallace was thrilled to be selected as a panelist for the renowned show. “Everybody wants to do The View. It’s this iconic show,” Wallace told Variety in 2015. “When I worked at the White House, I used to watch the beginning, to see what they were talking about. If a political topic was on their radar, I used it as ammunition with the president or the White House staff.”
Wallace, who served as former communications chief for George W. Bush, planned on using her political experience to discuss national and global issues on the show. “The day I got the job, it was expressed to me by [Disney/ABC Television Group president] Ben Sherwood that he wanted to make it a place where all the candidates for president had to stop,” she revealed. “I took that assignment to heart and tried to have the kind of political discussions that, while sharp and critical at times, were also fair.”
Despite Wallace’s best intentions of wanting to be an asset to the panel, viewers found the foursome to be a bit of an odd mix. According to the 2019 book “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View“ by Ramin Setoodah, the combo of Goldberg, Wallace, Perez, and O’Donnell wasn’t hitting a high note with audiences and pressures began to mount.
Rosie’s temper rises
Wallace told Setoodah early on in her time on The View, show execs were hoping to reignite some of the sparks that took place between O’Donnell and former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck when the conservative had a seat at the table. “They’d been trying to capture lightning in the bottle again from the Rosie-and-Elisabeth years,” Wallace revealed.
As time went on, tempers did flare on O’Donnell’s end after seeing Wallace on a particular interview that involved a political matter. “Things boiled over,” Wallace said. “Rosie jumped on me one day about torture. She’d seen me on Morning Joe defending what George Bush had done on enhanced interrogations. She was really upset and got really mad about it.”
When O’Donnell angrily brought the matter up again in a meeting, Wallace decided to formally report her to human resources as an act of protection.
When O’Donnell discovered Wallace had gone to HR due to her outburst, she was stunned. “I raised my voice. I was in my dressing room, getting my makeup done, and somebody comes and goes, ‘Nicolle Wallace just went to HR,'” O’Donnell recalled to Setoodah. “I get out of my chair, walk in her dressing room. I’m, like, ‘What the hell happened, Nicolle? You went where?!'”
“I just felt you were threatening me,” Wallace responded.
According to Setoodah, O’Donnell blamed their dissension on Wallace’s close relationship with Goldberg, who was consistently at odds with O’Donnell. “She was an ally to Whoopi Goldberg, who seemed to have an anti-Rosie agenda for all the world to see,” O’Donnell said.
Wallace shared that the divisive environment would often take a toll on the co-hosts. “It was really dramatic,” she shared, noting that it often had to do with O’Donnell. “We all kind of had to ride Rosie O’Donnell’s highs and lows, because she was going through a lot and pulled everyone in. She’s so intense. If she’s upset, we all kind of absorbed that. I think in some ways, Whoopi absorbed the brunt of it. They had some famous fights.”
O’Donnell soon left the show (again) mid-season, and Wallace’s contract wasn’t renewed for Season 19. In Setoodah’s book, he reports that the women would later become friends once The View was in the distance.