- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rosie out of ‘View’

Billionaire developer and reality-show host Donald Trump wasted no time in expressing his views when Rosie O’Donnell announced her departure from “The View” yesterday.

“Well, I’m not surprised,” the Donald said of Miss O’Donnell, his archnemesis for the past few months. “Rosie’s a very self-destructive person; she’s a loser by any standard; I mean she’s got nothing going for her,” he told Fox News Channel.

“Frankly, her ratings were really the best when she was attacking me and I was attacking her. That feud got her good ratings, which I knew it would, but I really had no choice but to attack her because she is a slob and she deserved to be attacked.”

In yesterday’s announcement, the opinionated Miss O’Donnell said she was leaving the daily chat fest after a year’s stay because she was unable to agree on a contract with ABC. She leaves the show in June, Associated Press reports.

“My needs for the future just didn’t dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me,” Miss O’Donnell said. “This has been an amazing experience,” she said, “and one I wouldn’t have traded for the world.”

Miss O’Donnell — who replaced Meredith Viera as the panel’s moderator when Miss Viera departed for NBC’s “Today” — has helped raise the ratings for the daytime program, created by Barbara Walters. However, her outspokenness has caused almost constant controversy, including a nasty name-calling feud with Mr. Trump — stemming from his decision to let then Miss USA, Tara Conner, keep her crown despite her reported questionable behavior — that placed Miss Walters in the middle.

“I induced Rosie to come back to television on ‘The View’ even for just one year,” Miss Walters said. “She has given the program new vigor, new excitement and wonderful hours of television. I can only be grateful to her for this year.”

Mr. Trump sees it differently.

“Rosie made Barbara look like a fool; she made her look like her lap dog,” he said to Fox News. “Barbara’s the happiest person in the world that Rosie’s been fired. Barbara can say what she wants, and of course she’s trying to put the most positive spin on it, but it’s nothing short of getting fired.”

Miss Walters frequently was left to clean up the damage after Miss O’Donnell — most recently on Monday, when Miss O’Donnell was criticized for using bad language and attacking Rupert Murdoch from the dais of the annual New York Women in Communications awards luncheon.

The feisty Miss O’Donnell hasn’t just angered celebrities. The lobbying group Focus on the Family said it was preparing to contact advertisers on “The View” as part of a campaign against Miss O’Donnell because of comments it found insulting to Catholics. She also angered Asian-American groups when she tried on a mocking Chinese accent earlier this season.

Despite controversy — or maybe because of it — Miss O’Donnell was good business for ABC. Ratings for “The View” during February sweeps were up 15 percent in key female demographics over the comparable time last year.

According to Fox News’ Roger Friedman, “ABC, in fact, wanted Miss 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.”

Price’ narrows search

And then there were three … or maybe four.

The Detroit Free Press says the search to replace Bob Barker as host of CBS’ long-running “The Price Is Right” is down to “Entertainment Tonight” veteran Mark Steines; Todd Newton, who’s hosting a “Price Is Right” show on the Vegas strip; and tanning king and actor George Hamilton. According to the Hollywood Reporter, options on all three candidates have been picked up and other wannabe hosts have been jettisoned.

However, TMZ.com reports that “Dancing With the Stars” winner John O’Hurley — who hosts the syndicated “Family Feud” — also is still in the running. CBS declined comment.

Industry publications also suggest that CBS may wait until mid-May to make a formal announcement.

CBS’ new season presentation is May 16, and the network has scheduled prime-time salutes to Mr. Barker May 16 and 17. He tapes his final show in June.

You also can see Mr. Barker in prime time Monday night. He’s making a guest appearance on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” airing at 8 on CBS.

Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) has wanted to meet the iconic host all his life. He finally gets his chance when he makes it to the Showcase Showdown on “The Price Is Right” — with the rest of the gang there to cheer him on.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, wire and Web reports.

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