This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 4, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
BILL O’REILLY, HOST: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.
In the "Miller Time" segment tonight, off the Rosie O'Donnell brouhaha, careers versus controversy.
Recently Michael Richards damaged his acting and comedy career by using the "N" word in a comedy club. Whether he'll recover from that is still an open question.
In the 1950s radical comedian Lenny Bruce destroyed his career with controversial statements. And in the 1980s Morton Downey Jr. did pretty much the same thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON DOWNEY JR., FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: I'd love you to try to beat me, honey. I'd show you how to kick the living (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of a broad.
You do this in the name of God. Because he is not a slut. You are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: And joining us now from Los Angeles, FOX News analyst Dennis Miller, whose new syndicated radio program on Westwood One is off to a great start.
The reason I illustrated that is because I don't want this to be a Rosie O'Donnell bash fest. Not in it for that. It's a serious situation in the sense that Morton Downey Jr. at one time making a lot of money. People watched him. Lenny Bruce, Michael Richards.
There's a line you can walk up to America. But you cannot cross that line and hope to prosper. Now you're in showbiz. Define it for us.
DENNIS MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think three distinct cases there.
I think Michael Richards' career, quite frankly, I think the expiration date had gone anyway. And that was part of the anger you saw there.
I think he realizes that he had a bit of a cosmic bunny hole there he slipped through with the Kramer thing. He became a TV icon, got a couple Emmys. Should be set for life financially. He should accept that. The fact that they could draw his ire by insinuating that he was over is a little tedious to me. I think Michael got a great deal of the cards and he should be happy with it.
Lenny Bruce I look back on. I'm not a big fan of the comedy. I always found it a little tedious. But he definitely was aggrieved. I mean, I think he really jumped the shark not on the language but when he started reading his court transcripts at the Village Gate in New York. That's when he became tedious.
And Morton Downey Jr., guess what? Complete huckster. If it wasn't for that, he would have been selling Vegematics on the boardwalk in A.C. This was the best he could have done, and more power to him.
O'REILLY: All right. Now, Rosie O'Donnell now we're up to another bracket. We're into corporate America.
O'REILLY: What do you think?
MILLER: Well, we've got Tokyo Rosie over there. Her and Joy have formed this Thelma and Louise cabal down at the corner. Poor Elisabeth looks like she doesn't know what's going on. She's like Shirley Jones in "Oklahoma!" She's just: "Oh my, oh my."
But Iger's got a real problem here with Rosie. Because I think Rosie wants to get fired. I don't think she's this paranoid. At the end of the day, I don't think she believes George Bush blew up the World Trade Centers.
But I do believe that Barbara Walters owns every back end piece of that show. Barbara might wear gloves up to her forearms. But the fact is she's got sharp elbows right above that. And Rosie has no back end on that show. She needs to get out of that deal. Because with the ratings spike she's brought to "The View", she realizes if she has part ownership in a daytime show she can print money.
So she is going increasingly outlandish. I think she's trying to get whacked. Iger does not like to rock the boat. That's how he got that job. He followed Eisner around for years like Drew Bodini Brown with Muhammad Ali: "You're the best. You're the brightest. Women love you. Men love you. Hey, our names are only one letter apart."
O'REILLY: Fill in some blanks here. Robert Iger is the CEO of Disney. Eisner is the former CEO who they threw overboard. But you know, here is where your analysis falls down.
By being so extreme and alienating so many Americans — I agree with you that O'Donnell probably wants out of that deal in May when her contract is up.
But now she's almost become radioactive in the sense that this is a major media story. Whoever was going to sign her to do anything else now has to go: "Do I want all the acrimony that she brings with her?"
Wouldn't she have been better off just to play out the contract? She does have a walk provision. And just be funny and then have somebody else sign her for the big deal.
MILLER: Well, I'm not completely sure of her contractual obligations to them, but...
O'REILLY: She says she has a window to get out of there by June.
MILLER: Well, if she doesn't have that window I guarantee you what she's going to say next is going to have nothing to do with 9/11. She's going to say that she — one of her previous lovers was Tinkerbelle. And at that point Iger is going to have to drop in on her.
O'REILLY: Pinocchio will work his way into "The View" somehow, and then we'll have the seven dwarfs. God knows what they're up to. But she'll tell us.
But look, look — you know, this is where it gets serious. In the sense that I like Barbara Walters. I don't know whether you know her or not, but she's a woman who's conducted herself with dignity. She is getting murdered here, because she's tied in with O'Donnell. And she can't like that.
Disney, while they're putting their game face on, is facing hundreds of thousands of calls and e-mails going, "I'm not taking little Bobby and Sally to Disney World because I don't like this one."
And now what are they going to do? If they fold — if she goes back next week and Disney tells her to shut up, well, she could do anything. She could go on and hit poor Elisabeth Hasselbeck with a chair next week.
MILLER: Well, I think Iger right now has got a functionary, and he's saying to him, "Listen, when she flips upside down next week in that Richard Gere 'American Gigolo' harness, I want to you sneak in that room, snap the mechanism, keep her upside down so she can't come back. All the blood rushes to her brain, and eventually she becomes the world's most fully engorged vampire bat." I think that's Eisner's play. Or Iger's play.
O'REILLY: Now, in the — in the larger picture of show business, do you believe that this woman has hurt her career?
MILLER: No. Not at all. I think that she has definitely — listen, Bill, it's 50/50 in this country right now. You're going to ostracize half the pack. She's just firmly delineated what half of the pack she wants to be involved with.
And I would say this. I think that some of these things I'm not even sure she believes. But I do know this about Rosie. She does great work for charity. And if I were you, I would offer to debate Rosie about America's place in 9/11 and whether or not we blew up those buildings on national pay-per-view for a fee and tell her whoever wins that debate, their charity will get the money.
You can give it to your finding pedophiles fund or whatever. She can give it to her Rosie's world fund. And I bet you she'll have to give that a whiff, because I know she likes to give money to kids. And I think you should vivisect her.
O'REILLY: She's a generous woman. But you know, I don't think she's ever going to step up and debate anything. I think she just wants to rant. Because if Disney were smart they would hire a conservative woman to go on there with her.
MILLER: Elisabeth is a sweet girl, but she has trouble holding her own.
O'REILLY: She can't handle it because she's not confrontational. Look, I'm going to give you the description. Describe to the nation Elisabeth Hasselbeck sitting between Behar and O'Donnell.
MILLER: Well, increasing on a day-to-day level she's starting to resemble Alice Faye to me. She's so sweet.
O'REILLY: Alice Faye.
MILLER: Well, I always thought Alice was such a beautiful, feminine woman. And I watch Elisabeth on a day to day basis, and she's actually becoming beatific at this point.
But listen, Bill, I don't think this hurts her career, because I think you can align yourselves. Now look the Dixie Chicks are doing it. They're starting to milk their career back in the other way.
O'REILLY: But they got hammered. The Dixie Chicks got hammered.
So you don't think that siding with Iran and accusing Britain of putting their own people at risk, you don't think that's going to hurt her career?
MILLER: Well, I think on — I think they made enough money the first time through. And I think now they have the cache of everywhere they go their lying eyes...
O'REILLY: I know she's going get an offer from the Persian "View". It's going to be great in Tehran.
Dennis Miller, everybody! There you go.
And I'm going to make her the offer to debate her on pay-per-view. That will be interesting.
MILLER: All right.
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