Rosie O'Donnell, the combative, opinionated, larger-than-life entertainer who took on everyone from Donald Trump to Donald Rumsfeld during nearly seven months as co-host of The View, is leaving the show at the end of June because she cannot come to terms with ABC on a new contract.
O'Donnell made the announcement on the show this morning, describing it, in her usual self-deprecating style, as "breaking news." She said she will continue to serve as an occasional guest-host on the show and will be the host for specials on autism, depression "and stuff that I'm interested in."
A replacement has not been named.
The show's remaining co-hosts -- Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elizabeth Hasselbeck -- said they would all miss Rosie very much. Said Walters, the show's grand dame who brought O'Donnell in last year: "You keep saying, 'Don't be sad,' and we should all be upbeat, and I am sad. I am sad because I induced you to come here. I knew you were only coming for one year. I hoped it would be more than one year."
But what a year it's been! Perhaps Rosie's most bitter and entertaining spat was with Trump, whom she called a "snake-oil salesman" and "the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America." She also questioned his financial stability.
Trump fired back, saying he would sue O'Donnell and adding, "Rosie's a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice, fat little Rosie."
Despite controversy -- or maybe because of it -- O'Donnell was good business for ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co. Ratings for The View during February sweeps were up 15 percent in key women demographics over the same time in 2006.
Today it was all kisses as The View co-hosts attested to their affection for O'Donnell. And Walters made it clear she had nothing to do with O'Donnell leaving the show, saying, "It was between your representatives and ABC Daytime. This is not my doing or my choice."
O'Donnell responded by telling Walters she had something between her teeth and fishing it out for her.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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