NEW YORK (Reuters) - Outspoken talk show star Rosie O‘Donnell said on Wednesday she will end her stint as co-host of ABC’s “The View” in mid-June when her contract expires, capping a nine-month run that saw her do battle with Donald Trump and other celebrities.
O‘Donnell, 45, said she and the Walt Disney Co.-owned network failed to come to terms on a contract renewal deal, but she would return to the show next season for special segments and as a recurring guest host.
She said one unresolved issue in her talks with ABC had been the length of her contract, with the network seeking a three-year extension while she held out for just one year.
“It just didn’t work, and that’s showbiz. But it’s not sad, because I’ve loved it here, and I love you guys, and I‘m not going away. I‘m just not going to be here everyday,” O‘Donnell said on the show, drawing applause.
Barbara Walters, the daytime talk show’s creator, co-executive producer and fellow co-host, said she was “sad” over O‘Donnell’s impending departure and that she was not involved in the negotiations between ABC and O‘Donnell.
“I knew you were coming for one year, I hoped it would be more,” Walters said after O‘Donnell spoke.
The weekday program, averaging 3.5 millions viewers in its 10th season, has seen the size of its overall audience grow 17 percent since O‘Donnell joined the show in September.
The actress-comedian, an activist for gay adoption and other social causes, has drawn frequent headlines for her provocative brand of commentary. She has often skewered such powerful men as real estate baron Trump and Fox News Channel host Bill O‘Reilly from her seat on “The View,” a panel hosted by four women discussing news and gossip.
But off-camera her sometimes outrageous comments made life difficult for Walters, who brought O‘Donnell onto the panel to fill the vacancy created when Meredith Vieira left to co-host NBC’s “Today” show.
O‘Donnell offended some of those attending a luncheon this week at the Waldorf-Astoria with off-color remarks about Trump, according to a New York Post report on Tuesday.
She and Trump have been in a war of words since O‘Donnell criticized him for his public rebuke late last year of then-Miss USA Tara Conner for her underage drinking.
Trump, who co-owns the company that produces the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, exalted in O‘Donnell’s departure and took some credit for it during an appearance on Fox News shortly after ABC’s announcement.
“Rosie’s a loser, she continues to be a loser, and she was fired by ABC. And I‘m proud to say that I probably had a part in it,” Trump said
An ABC spokeswoman denied that O‘Donnell was fired and insisted her departure was amicable.
“The View” made headlines last year when former co-host Star Jones Reynolds caught her colleagues off guard by abruptly announcing on the air that she was leaving the show, after telling People magazine she felt that she had been fired.
Jones Reynolds complained to the magazine that she had learned her contract would not be renewed just days before media reports had first surfaced that O‘Donnell, one of her most vocal critics, would be joining the show.
The two other current “View” regulars are Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Before joining “The View,” O‘Donnell appeared in a number of television shows, theater productions and films, including the 1992 baseball comedy “A League of Their Own” and 1994’s big-screen adaptation of “The Flintstones.” She also hosted her own daytime talk show, the “Rosie O‘Donnell Show,” which ended its six-year run in May 2002.
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles)