The news that Reynolds wouldn't have her contract renewed for a 10th year on the daytime talk show exploded this week into a bitter war of words involving show creator Barbara Walters.
Reynolds, appearing Thursday on CNN's "Larry King Live," said she'd been told in April that she wasn't coming back but kept it secret. She revealed it on Tuesday's show, taking Walters and ABC by surprise with the timing.
The truth — that Reynolds' ABC bosses didn't want her back because her personal popularity was plummeting — might never have been known without the fight.
"They said you can make up a story," Reynolds said. "The audience didn't deserve for me to make up a story. That's not fair."
Longtime ABC newswoman Walters has confirmed the intended deception, but said it was done to protect Reynolds' reputation and feelings.
ABC said it canned Reynolds immediately after Tuesday's show because her announcement, and an interview with People magazine, took the network by surprise. Walters told The Associated Press that she felt betrayed and ABC said it couldn't trust Reynolds to tell the truth if she remained on the air.
Reynolds said she was "having trouble reconciling" ABC's statement with being told earlier that she could lie about her exit.