DAYTIME’S QUEEN OF CONTROVERSY DECIDES NOT TO RENEW HER CONTRACT
Wednesday was the big announcement I had been expecting to hear from Rosie O’Donnell. It was becoming increasingly apparent to me that she was not going to be able to sustain the level of commitment to The View that ABC Television wanted from her. They tried to paint her into a corner with a three-year contract that she ultimately could not accept. Why would anybody want to guarantee three more years of intense scrutiny from media pinheads (mostly from the right) when they know that one more year would barely be sustainable?
I must give credit where it is due. Rosie was able to breathe a lot of life into the (now stale) format that had initially distinguished The View from its competitors. There had always been four or five women sitting around an ugly table, chirping away on issues, but the conversation seemed a little too safe and predictable (especially towards the end of Meredith Vieira’s tenure.) Rosie changed all of that with her presence and ever-changing moods. She served as the ‘true voice’ (even in her most deluded moments) of the variety of people that watch daytime television. Without her presence, even with some sort of pale substitute occupying her seat, the show is going to suffer.
What bugged me most on Wednesday, were the idiots (like Trump and O’Reilly) that ran around after the announcement, proclaiming it as some sort of victory for their side (you know, idiots.) I don’t buy into this idea that Rosie was fired or unwillingly forced out. ABC Daytime decided to play hardball with someone with more than a little experience negotiating these kinds of matters and common ground couldn’t be reached in realistic terms. In the end, Rosie wins and ABC loses because there is absolutely nothing stopping her from coming back with her own program (on her own terms and for more money.) She has a year’s worth of impressive ratings to shop around to other venues. Whether or not she will actually do that is a different matter. Executives would be foolish not to lure her somewhere.
The View is doomed to become a parody of itself when the 2007-2008 season rolls around. Ratings are bound to shrink and all of the attempts that they will try in order to recapture the lightening in a bottle that Rosie provided are just going to hasten the ugly ending that awaits the program. I have no idea how much time remains on Joy Behar’s contract. As far as I know she may be in the middle of renegotiating things. If ABC manages to keep her around I will be shocked. Like an old rock band with only one original member, I believe we will be left with clueless Elisabeth Hasselbeck and three horrible replacements, with an occasional visit from Queen Barbara. I may be completely wrong in my assessment, but I do not see The View lasting much longer–nor should it, for that matter.
Rosie has (roughly) six weeks left to entertain us and anger her critics. I hope she goes out in a blaze of glory. She definitely has nothing to lose if she chooses to do so. Then we will just be left with reruns (that don’t hold up very well) and our memories. This unfortunate development with The View and Bob Barker’s departure from The Price Is Right (both scheduled to happen around the same time) are going to put the final nails in daytime TVs coffin. You just can’t go out on hire quality replacements for crazy lesbians and dirty old men these days.
What a shame, what a shame.