Rosie O'Donnell — quite rightly, I believe — has had enough of Barbara Walters and "The View." I am told that she is not likely to renew her one-year contract when it ends in June and will leave the crazy talk show after boosting its ratings higher than ever.
Sources say that Rosie feels that the backstage antics at "The View" "are completely dysfunctional." O'Donnell, who's got plenty of money and lots of outside interests, simply doesn't need to be there. I am told that her contract was for "one school year" and that ends in June.
But ABC might feel differently, given that O'Donnell has made "The View" bigger than ever. It's conceivable that the network brass will prevail — either buying out or retiring Walters and convincing O'Donnell to stay as the show's moderator.
Ironically, oddsmakers would have guessed that Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie's political and ideological opposite, would have been the one to cause O'Donnell the most pain at the show. But it turns out that Walters, the woman who chose O'Donnell for the job in the first place, surfaced as her backstage enemy.
The tension between Walters and O'Donnell surfaced yesterday, first when Page Six reported that the pair had a fight about the Donald Trump-Miss USA saga just before the show went on air Monday morning.
Then later yesterday, a letter from Trump to Rosie was leaked, in which Trump told O'Donnell that Walters, essentially, had betrayed her to Trump and acted disloyally.
Whether or not this is completely true is irrelevant. But this — not the public façade she's carefully crafted — is the Barbara Walters I've seen in action over the years.
The first indication of this was seen earlier last year when she ditched the unpopular Star Jones in a most unceremonious and ungracious way. That should have been some indication to everyone that Walters was capable of just about anything as she struggled to preserve what's left of her crumbling fiefdom at ABC.
According to my sources, the Trump letter wasn't the first piece of correspondence in this story. Walter apparently sent O'Donnell a letter over the Christmas holiday that wasn't particularly supportive either. O'Donnell told friends she couldn't believe Walters' take on the situation.
How this leaves "The View" for the rest of the TV season remains a mystery. O'Donnell isn't going to quit, and Walters can't fire her without ABC's approval — and she won't get it.
The show is already lacking a fifth correspondent, and without O'Donnell — who replaced Meredith Vieira — it doesn't have a marquee name as moderator. Of course, we'd love to hear what Joy Behar is saying off camera about all this.
Madonna is coming to the U.S. at the end of this week, and it has nothing to do with Kabbalah.
The Material Mom will host a screening on Thursday afternoon of "Arthur and the Invisibles," the Luc Besson animated feature in which she does a voice-over. Madonna's so committed to the film that she's also doing the "Today" show and "Live With Regis and Kelly" to give the movie a push.
This might be the beginning of a new Madonna PR push, and one that couldn't come at a better time. Her whole Malawi adoption soap opera did her a lot of damage, just as her most recent children's book was released. The result was poor sales and a lot of negative press.
But Madonna is not stupid. If anyone can pull a "180" in the press, it's the former Michigan punk singer turned gentrified British landowner. One thing's for sure: Never ever bet against Madonna. Maybe the above mentioned Rosie will show up, by the way, with her brood. The two were once great, great friends.
The original "Dreamgirl," Mary Wilson of the Supremes, met the movie "Dreamgirl," Jennifer Hudson, yesterday. Coincidentally they were each lunching at Michael's.
Wilson was with producer Beverly Camhe, who's helping her develop a new top secret project. Hudson came in with Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley to do a shoot for the magazine.
The normally sedate Michael's crowd was wowed since the soul they usually serve is the filet kind. Mary, by the way, gave Jennifer a signed copy of her best-selling autobiography. ...
The "Dreamgirls" soundtrack, by the way, debuted at No. 1 this week (according to hitsdailydouble.com) with 69,000 copies sold. No one can remember the last time a movie score hit No. 1. Was it "Grease?" ...
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA holds its annual afternoon tea this coming weekend in Los Angeles.
The expected guests at this very popular event include Sienna Miller, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes, Brad Pitt, Dame Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, Rinko Kikuchi, Penelope Cruz, Jackie Earle Haley, Todd Field, Guillermo del Toro, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ivana Baquero, Cecilia Peck, Emily Blunt, Michael Buble and Adriana Barraza. ...
Inadvertently, I left out a name from the Waverly Inn story yesterday. The beauteous Helena Christensen, famous for so many things, was there, too. She's now dating Jack Huston. She's 14 years his senior, but hey, she's hotter than ever at the ripe old age of 39. ...
Jack, a talented actor, could actually pass for a young Michael Hutchence. Helena was the INXS star's last girlfriend before his tragic death. ...