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Rosie O'Donnell Decided to Leave 'View' When Walters Failed to Defend Her Against Trump

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Rosie O'DonnellAP

We told you on Jan. 10: Rosie O’Donnell would leave “The View.”

Her announcement this morning has nothing to do with contract negotiations breaking down. ABC did not end Rosie’s "View." Rosie ended it.

And don’t believe the spin that ABC was mad at her for comments made at the Matrix luncheon on Monday. Rosie was finished with "The View" over the Christmas holiday when Barbara Walters failed to defend her against Donald Trump.

In fact, it was worse than that: When O’Donnell discovered that Walters had bad-mouthed her to Trump, she decided to leave the show. It was that simple.

ABC, in fact, wanted O’Donnell to stay with the show. They offered her, as she said on the air, a three-year contract. She refused to sign. Rosie said she’d stay for a year, and this is what you don’t know: She wanted $10 million to do so.

ABC did not turn down the money. They turned down the one-year part. They wanted stability. They would have paid her something like $30 million to sign for three years. That’s how much they wanted her. She was the future of "The View."

So that’s it. Rosie said on the air she’d be back to guest host and do specials. Maybe she will. But it’s more likely that based on her enormous success this year with "The View," O’Donnell will venture back into syndication or join another show on another network. Everyone wants her.

The look on Walters’ face this morning said it all. Losing O’Donnell is a blow. Walters is half owner of "The View."

First she lost Meredith Vieira. Now Rosie. She’s left with the dependable Joy Behar and the questionable Elisabeth Hasselbeck. This means a summer of trying to rethink "The View" and find new hosts. If she’s smart, she’ll call Gayle King today. It’s her only choice.

As for Rosie, she can take her time either way. She’s wealthier than Walters by leaps and bounds. She oversees a huge charitable foundation. And she’s got a loving family at home.

She’s had the good sense to get out of what she told friends in January was a snake pit. The Barbara Walters she signed on with and imagined as a mentor turned out to be a shark who is loyal only to herself. Rosie has bigger fish to fry.