Rosie O’Donnell returning to The View is the best development for daytime television since Rosie O’Donnell’s short run on The View in the 2006–2007 season.
O’Donnell is politically inflamed, funny, angry, does not care what the audience thinks, and, whether you agree with her or not, her combustible style is riveting. There has never been a talk show like The View when O’Donnell was on. Personal and political disagreements spilled onto the air regularly and increasingly — most saliently and uncomfortably with her boss, Barbara Walters, and with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck — until O’Donnell quit the show.
Afterward, O’Donnell said it wasn’t because of the fight itself, but because of the executive producer’s decision to use a split screen, pitting her against Hasselbeck.
Since her departure, The View has steadily sunk in ratings, and is finally rebooting with a new slate (except for Whoopi Goldberg, who will continue as the show’s moderator). After leaving the series, O’Donnell remarried, tried to have a solo talk show on OWN (it was a disaster), survived a heart attack, and has been an active social media presence.
It’s hard to gauge, but she doesn’t seem like she’s less confrontational. When she came back to visit The View in February 2014, for instance, she and Walters could barely get along for even that short time on the air, and bickered about Woody Allen and his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, who wrote about him sexually abusing her (O’Donnell believes Farrow; Walters does not). In the spring, during her farewell press tour, Walters told Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh that “Rosie imploded” during her time on the show, and “she also has some, shall we say, emotional problems.”
Who doesn’t? Welcome back, Rosie!