- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

Rosie O’Donnell has fought her last fight at “The View.”

ABC said today that she asked for, and received, an early exit from her contract at the daytime chatfest following her angry confrontation with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Wednesday. She was due to leave in mid-June.

It ended a colorful eight-month tenure for Miss O’Donnell that lifted the show’s ratings but no doubt caused heartburn for show creator Barbara Walters. Miss O’Donnell feuded with Donald Trump and frequently had snippy exchanges with the more conservative Miss Hasselbeck.

Miss O’Donnell said last month she would be leaving because she could not agree to a new contract with ABC executives.

“Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at ‘The View’,” Miss Walters said. “I am most appreciative. Our close and affectionate relationship will not change.”

In a statement, Miss O’Donnell said that “it’s been an amazing year and I love all three women.”

No one was feeling the love on Wednesday, when the argument with Miss Hasselbeck began over Miss O’Donnell’s statement last week about the war: “655,000 Iraqi civilians have died. Who are the terrorists?”

Talk show critics accused Miss O’Donnell of calling U.S. troops terrorists. She called Miss Hasselbeck “cowardly” for not saying anything in response to the critics.

“Do not call me a coward, because No. 1, I sit here every single day, open my heart and tell people what I believe,” Miss Hasselbeck retorted, and their riveting exchange continued despite failed attempts by their co-hosts to cut to a commercial.

According to a New York Post report, Miss O’Donnell’s chief writer, Janette Barber, was reportedly led out of the building on Wednesday after she was caught drawing mustaches on photographs of Miss Hasselbeck in “The View” studios. ABC executives didn’t return repeated calls for questions on the incident Friday.

On Thursday, O’Donnell had asked for a day off to celebrate her partner’s birthday. “The View” aired a taped yesterday.

Today, Miss O’Donnell posted a scrapbooklike video on her Web site with pictures and news clippings of her tenure at “The View.” Cyndi Lauper’s “Sisters of Babylon” played in the background.

A day earlier, she posted messages on her Web site indicating she might not be back.

“When painting there is a point u must step away from the canvas as the work is done,” she wrote. “Any more would take away.”

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