Rosie O’Donnell’s new mega contract with ABC has one absolute proviso: the former talk show queen cannot cut her hair.
You may recall there was an uproar toward the end of Rosie’s run as a syndicated talk show host because she chopped off her locks to emulate Culture Club songstress Helen Terry.
O’Donnell’s enemies at Gruner + Jahr Publishing even used the wedge hair cut against her when they sued her for a million bucks after shutting down the “Rosie” magazine. They lost that battle. But ABC apparently wants Rosie to look as glamorous as possible when she sits down on “The View” among Joy Behar, Star Jones, and Debbie Hasselbeck.
And what about that table? O’Donnell tells me she will more than likely not sit at the far left, taking Meredith Vieira’s old chair. When “The View” returns in September from August reruns, the stage will likely be redesigned so Rosie is sitting in the middle.
“And there’ll be a curtain on that table,” O’Donnell quipped.
You may wonder when and how this arrangement with "The View" came about. I was not surprised to be told that it all occurred on the night that HBO screened Rosie and her partner Kelli’s documentary about their gay family cruise line about a month ago. I distinctly recall Barbara Walters coming out of the screening room, wiping tears from her eyes. It was quite obvious as the mother of an adopted daughter, she was incredibly moved.
Apparently, on the spot Walters asked O’Donnell if she’d be interested in taking Vieira’s job should the latter bolt for the Today Show. Rosie didn’t believe it, and responded, “Sure. Call me.”
And that’s what Walters did the minute she knew for certain that Vieira was leaving "The View." It was a smart choice, because O’Donnell’s empathy and sincerity radiate from the television set. At the same time, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. If nothing else, “The View” will become appointment television, edgy and worth watching—particularly if O’Donnell and Hasselbeck, who has identified herself as right wing—tangle on issues involving gay parenting, adoption, abortion, etc.
Joining “The View,” O’Donnell says, will also be ideal for two other reasons: she can leave the city by 12:30 pm and be home with her kids when they return from school. And she’s not carrying an entire show on her back. She has co-hosts who will help with the burden of a five times a week live broadcast.
“She wants to play with friends,” says a source. And now she’ll get to do that.