It happened about a week before the Donald Trump imbroglio swallowed "The View" whole. Barbara Walters turned stone-faced to Rosie O'Donnell during the open chat-fest segment of the show.
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Indeed, Walters’ unhappiness with Rosie mostly likely was revealed on that show, circa Dec. 13. The two women had what could only be described as a raw argument, instigated by Rosie’s insistence that Walters is very, very rich.
The argument began as Rosie told the audience that going to an apartment like Walters’ on New York City's Fifth Avenue was like "being in a museum."
There was a discussion of Walters’ dinner guests — people like Henry Kissinger and "the president of Czechoslovakia." There was the suggestion that Walters’ dinner parties required name cards at each place setting as well.
O’Donnell insisted that she’d never seen anything like this before and preferred to use paper plates and serve macaroni at her own dinner parties. Walters tried to slow her down, but it didn’t work.
"You make me sound like I’m elite," Barbara told Rosie, who just didn’t get it and couldn’t back out of it.
Walters was furious. As you can see from a clip on YouTube.com, there is a long moment of close-up when Walters looks like she would do anything — even kill — to stop O’Donnell’s line of thought.
"It’s not like I have Picassos or Miros on the wall," Barbara says at this point.
But this is a lie. Walters, according to those who know her, has quite a large art collection, some of which she bought through Barbara Guggenheim, wife of Hollywood agent Bert Fields.
At one point in the early 1990s, she owned several American impressionist paintings including some by John Singer Sargent. The collection could be worth millions.
If the tension between Walters and O’Donnell started there, it was just waiting for further instigation a week or so later when Rosie attacked Trump on the air.
Walters is not one to let go of a grudge, and O’Donnell’s "outing" of her as anything other than serious-minded, matriarchal and hard-working constituted the crossing of a line. It’s quite possible that from then on nothing Rosie did would please her.
"It’s not lost on Barbara that Rosie is a lot wealthier than she is," says a source. Even though Walters has amassed a sizeable war chest over the years, O’Donnell is like a junior Oprah.
It’s not lost on Walters either that she paved the way for all these women, giving up a personal life to become the first lady of Broadcast Journalism.
And O’Donnell, as I reported here over the holidays, is a workhorse for charitable giving. She’s donated more than $60 million to needy groups over the last decade.
Walters, on other hand, according to a tax filing for her personal foundation, gives an average of $200,000 a year. This is no small change, but it’s a far cry from the $2 million O’Donnell gave away last year alone.
The New York Times’ big scoop today about the Anthony Pellicano tapes is important more for what it doesn’t say than what it does.
For some reason, the article just launches right into the content of the taped recordings that involve Pellicano, Kirk Kerkorian and attorney Terry Christensen. There is no explanation for what this all means, or what could be coming. It is very odd indeed.
For the last year, prosecutors in the case have claimed — loudly — that they couldn’t decode Pellicano’s tapes. Maybe this was a bit of genius to lull all participants into a false state of security.
But the reality is this: If they’ve decoded these tapes, then more will follow and quickly. And what’s on those tapes should have everyone involved quite anxious.
It’s now possible that prosecutors have conversations that Pellicano had with the likes of Bert Fields, Michael Ovitz and Brad Grey, among others. If so, the world in Hollywood is about to become a much different place.
The timing of today’s release is interesting, too. Last week, this column was the first to report that Pellicano had released his attorney, Steven F. Gruel, and had decided to represent himself.
Now I’m told that a hearing has been set for Jan. 22 at which Pellicano will make his debut as an attorney at a status hearing without having had much preparation. This could mean fireworks.
Blonde Bombshell Warbler Is Very 'Simpatico'
If you go to MSN’s Canadian online music store, called Simpatico, check out the best-selling (legal — hello!) downloads on their site.
You’ll see recognizable names like Gwen Stefani, U2, Eminem, Snow Patrol, Avril Lavigne, etc. And, oh yeah, one name and picture that pretty much only Canadians and readers of this column know: Naomi Striemer.
Striemer, whom I told you Billboard magazine loves, has been the No. 1 download on Simpatico for a couple of weeks now.
Her album, called "Images," was launched with a free download of her magnificent soaring Celine Dion-like single, "Cars," which features Carlos Santana on guitar and production by Narada Michael Walden. So where is "Cars" in the U.S.?
Naomi — who happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous blonde — has become the symbol for all that could be right with the music business but isn’t.
Last week, combined sales of the Top 20 hovered right around a million copies. That’s one of the worst sales weeks in recorded (pun intended) history.
You’d think radio stations and record companies would welcome a new artist who might stimulate the business. But because Striemer is on an independent label, called S Records, so far she is cold in the "music establishment."
What makes this even scarier is that now in New York we have barely any radio whatsoever to listen to. Both the famed WNEW-FM, which used to be the bellwether of rock, and WCBS-FM, a huge community for oldies music, have been attacked by their owners, CBS Radio, formerly Infinity Broadcasting.
The latter station reflected a vital city that embraced the music, much of which started here including doo-wop, soul and Brill Building pop. Now it’s just an anonymous outlet for a disposable marketing gimmick called "Jack." You wouldn’t even listen to it in a doctor’s office.
Continuing with this hapless disregard, CBS has changed WNEW’s call letters after 40 years to WFSS. The former station — once the proud home of beloved, famous deejays — is now — are you ready for this? — automated and playing "today’s soft music" under the hideous guise of being "fresh."
Of course, there is nothing fresh about any of this; it’s as stale and rotten as it could be. The owners of this station should be tried for high crimes against the culture, and made to listen to Beyoncé scream "Ring the Alarm" in a windowless room for the rest of their lives.
But — as they used to say on "The Electric Company" — what about Naomi? Will we ever hear her sing "Cars"?
It may be the Internet and satellite radio — I prefer Sirius, but XM has its fans — is the only place to hear anything of interest now. There’s more to come in this story, so stay tuned.