- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gloves off for Liz, Rosie

The bubbling political and personal tension between Rosie O’Donnell and Elizabeth Hasselbeck erupted on “The View” yesterday when the two co-hosts resurrected their fight about Miss O’Donnell’s comments on U.S. involvement in Iraq and terrorists.

Last week, Miss O’Donnell said that 650,000 Iraqis have died since the United States invasion and asked, “Who are the real terrorists in Iraq?” angering many conservative pundits.

On Monday, Miss Hasselbeck said Miss O’Donnell should explain what she really meant.

It didn’t die there, showbuzz.cbsnews.com reports. The verbal dust-up resumed again yesterday when Miss O’Donnell said she is criticized because she is a “fat lesbian” and Elizabeth is pure, innocent and Christian. Miss O’Donnell called Miss Hasselbeck cowardly for not defending her, and Miss Hasselbeck said: “I’ll tell you what’s cowardly, asking a rhetorical question that you cannot answer yourself.”

The two have gone head to head many times during Miss O’Donnell’s brief tenure on “The View,” but yesterday their face-off took on an intensely personal tone when the women made pointed statements at each other.

“It’s a lot easier to fight people like Donald Trump, isn’t it, because he’s obnoxious,” Miss Hasselbeck said.

Miss O’Donnell, who has just three weeks left at “The View,” said she wanted to know what Miss Hasselbeck personally thought she meant.

“What I was asking is, you, who actually knows me, do you believe I think our troops are terrorists, Elizabeth?” she said.

When Miss Hasselbeck — a former finalist on CBS’ “Survivor” who is married to New York Giants backup quarterback Tim Hasselbeck — began to speak, Miss O’Donnell cut her off, demanding a yes or no answer and saying that Miss Hasselbeck would “doublespeak.”

“I am not a doublespeaker, and I don’t put suggestions out there that lead people to think things and not answer my own question,” Miss Hasselbeck shot back. “… I don’t believe that you believe troops are terrorists; I have said that before, but when you say something like 650,000 Iraqis are dead … .”

“It’s true, you don’t like the facts,” Miss O’Donnell said.

“I am all about facts, you know that. You tell me not to use facts and to only go on emotion. Guess what? I like facts. I like them,” Miss Hasselbeck said.

“But you hide behind the ones you like. You cherry-pick them,” Miss O’Donnell said.

The discussion became so heated that the producers skipped a commercial break. They went to a split screen of Miss Hasselbeck and Miss O’Donnell’s faces, both of which were full of emotion.

“I wanted to know what people like you, but you are my friend since September, do you believe I think our troops are terrorists?” Miss O’Donnell said. “And you wouldn’t even look me in the face, Elizabeth, and say, ‘No, Rosie, I can understand how people might have thought that, why don’t you take an opportunity,’ like I’m six.”

“Because you are an adult and — and I am certainly not going to be the person for you to explain — for you to explain your thoughts. They’re your thoughts. Defend your own thoughts.” Miss Hasselbeck said. “Defend your own insinuations.”

Guest co-host Sherri Shepherd and co-host Joy Behar tried to lighten the mood, but after a while, Miss Behar couldn’t contain her groans. At one point, she and Miss Shepherd tried to leave the table.

Finally Miss Behar exclaimed: “What are we, on PBS? Who is directing this show? Let’s go to commercial.”

It’s Sir Hugh to you

Hugh Laurie, who stars in the hit TV medical drama “House,” yesterday was made a member of the Order of the British Empire.

Queen Elizabeth II presented the honor to Mr. Laurie at Buckingham Palace, Associated Press reports.

The actor, 47, has been part of the comedy establishment in Britain for more than 20 years. He was a member of the Cambridge Footlights comedy group along with Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry.

Mr. Laurie and Mr. Fry landed their own sketch show, “A Bit of Fry and Laurie,” in 1987. They also starred in “Jeeves and Wooster,” a hugely popular TV version of P.G. Wodehouse’s comic stories.

Mr. Laurie’s film roles include “Sense and Sensibility,” “Peter’s Friends” and “Stuart Little.” He has won two Golden Globe awards for his role on Fox’s “House” as the brilliant but flawed Dr. Gregory House, who heads a medical team specializing in the diagnosis of rare disorders.

Photo finish

Fox’s “American Idol” won Tuesday night’s battle of the reality series against ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” finale, but “Dancing” threw a big wrench into the premiere of the Mark Burnett-Steven Spielberg summer film competition “On the Lot,” which followed “Idol.”

With the penultimate episode of “Idol,” Fox kept the winning hand Tuesday among adults 18 to 49, but the two-hour finale of “Dancing” powered ABC to a viewership victory for the night. With 24.5 million viewers, “Idol” was the night’s top show in the key demographics, Nielsen Media Research said yesterday citing preliminary estimates.

Yet, according to the Hollywood Reporter, “Idol” was down 24 percent in the key demographic compared to last year’s penultimate episode. The big wheel between 9 and 11 p.m. was “Dancing” (22.7 million), which crowned a winner and overshadowed everything else in prime time, including Fox’s “On the Lot” (9 million). “Dancing With the Stars” peaked at 10 p.m. with 23.5 million viewers before settling down slightly in its last half hour. It was, however, the lowest-rated “Dancing” finale, down 7 percent compared to last fall’s finale.

On tap tonight

Now that the “Idol” singers have had their day, it’s time to bring on the dancers. “So You Think You Can Dance,” that other reality talent competition on Fox, returns at 8 p.m. on Fox5-WTTG. Fifteen contestants will strut their stuff in the 90-minute third-season premiere.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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