It's all over but the shouting. Rosie O'Donnell's run on The View is nearing an end, now that the opinionated talk-show personality has failed to come to terms with Disney's
You either hate her or you love her. Her confrontational ways spared few and included some notable wars of words against a few of the richest dudes around -- Trump Entertainment's
Having a polarizing celebrity on board doesn't seem like a good business decision, but it usually helps in the ratings book. The View's ratings clocked in higher with O'Donnell as a member, just as Sirius
Yikes! Did I just invite a wave of hate mail by mentioning Stern and O'Donnell in the same sentence? Those two don't even like to be in the same room.
Sure, controversial traffic magnets may leave sponsors second-guessing their endorsement plans. Just go back a few weeks to revisit the Don Imus episode at CBS
Rosie moves on
So where does Rosie go from here? I have a few lighthearted suggestions.
-- Mad Money With Jim Cramer and Rosie O'Donnell -- Fess up, now. Wouldn't you love to see Cramer and O'Donnell on the screen at the same time? The kind of tsunami that those two would create if they were riled up simultaneously would make for a magical viewing experience. If it gets too much, just send O'Donnell out to the NYSE trading floor during CNBC's earlier shows. Come on, now, Rosie. Let Maria Bartiromo have it.
-- Ring Around the Rosie -- Tired of all the kiddie shows that are too heavy on the syrup? Bring on O'Donnell. To be fair, Rosie's been kid-friendly in the past. She has hosted Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards. She was also one of the voice talents for Disney's Tarzan and played Betty Rubble in the original The Flintstones live-action movie. Kids need a little something edgier than The Wiggles these days, right?
-- The Jetsons -- In this updated version, Rosie the robot is replaced by the wisecracking Rosie O'Donnell. Hey, it's still Rosie, only this one would have no problem decking Mr. Spacely.
What would Barbara do?
This brings us to The View creator Barbara Walters. What does she do now? She can play it safe, but that just wouldn't be right. The show's daytime allure has often been caused by the friction of having polarizing regulars on the panel, like O'Donnell and Star Jones.
Sure, there are shows out there that sometimes feel like a host love-fest. ABC's own Live With Regis and Kelly seems to fit that bill. (And on that note, Disney is pleased to let you know that Regis Philbin will be back on the show tomorrow, after being out for more than a month to undergo open-heart surgery.) However, The View -- by its very premise -- is fueled by regulars who have no problem voicing differing opinions.
Watchers will probably still tune in once O'Donnell is gone, but filling the shoes of an opinionated host is usually no easy task. CBS has yet to fill the void that Stern left behind, and it's not going to get any easier to replace Imus.
Play it safe, and the sponsors won't go anywhere. But if the ratings dip, they will also have every reason to pay less. Wish Disney luck here. The hardest seats to fill are often the hottest ones.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz won't go on record as a Rosie lover or a Rosie hater. His lack of a vocal opinion on that front makes him an unlikely replacement on Barbara Walters' show. He does own shares in Disney. Rick is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.