Rosie O'Donnell Claims 'View' Director Set Up Hasselbeck Fight

November 24th, 2008 5:57 PM

Rosie O’Donnell always seems to concoct some wild conspiracy theory. Interviewing Rosie on her upcoming variety show on the November 24 edition of "Today," Meredith Vieira asked about what lead up to her departure from "The View." Rosie then brought up her famous fight with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and suggested the fight was a setup because she did not think the director thinks fast enough on his feet to create a splitscreen.

On the subject of her upcoming show, Rosie O’Donnell promised it will be "just an hour of fun, no controversy, no politics." A cynical Meredith Vieira stated "I don’t believe that." Rosie did concede she has a "little valve that doesn’t let me edit sometimes," but insisted "I’m trying to engage that edit valve now."

The transcript minus some irrelevant portions about her show and her late mother follow.

ROSIE O’DONNELL: Yeah it's just an hour of fun, no controversy, no politics.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Oh come on! No controversy?

O’DONNELL: No, no arguing. We're not fighting with anybody. We're not arguing with one another. It's just one hour of fun.

VIEIRA: I don't believe that. You're going to have a monologue where you sound off, aren't you, at the top of the show?

O’DONNELL: Not really.

VIEIRA: You're going to stay away from politics?

O’DONNELL: Well, I'm going to do just like two minutes. I mean, it's a jam packed show. We have, like, four musical guests. We have Liza Minnelli performing, Alanis Morrisette, N-yo, and Gloria Estafan. So, we've only got a 46 minute show, and, you know-

VIEIRA: But if something's on that mind of yours it's not going to come up in that monologue? Come on!

O’DONNELL: Well, you know, I have the little valve that doesn't let me edit sometimes. And I'm trying to engage the edit valve now appropriately. But it's not going to be a- it is going to be an hour where you can escape the troubles of the world. I'm not going to hopefully bring them up or talk about it.

VIEIRA: Speaking of that valve, yes.

O’DONNELL: Yes, yes Meredith go!

VIEIRA: Last, last [laughing] last week you were promoting this variety show. You were talking to a lot of reporters. "The View" came up as it always does. You left that show, what, a year and a half ago, people are still asking questions. You told some reporters, this is your quote now, "now, no matter what Barbara wants"- as in Barbara Walters- "wants everyone to believe and think and act as if everyone gets along, it's just not the reality." You say that. The next day, she goes on "The View" and this is what she says.

O’DONNELL: Oh no. We have to watch it?

VIEIRA: Yeah come on.


BARBARA WALTERS: Some people who have done this show, and then for years, feel they have to dump on it, maybe for their own publicity. And that not only hurts me, but I resent it. So if the shoe fits, lady, get on with-

VIEIRA: Well, she went on to say "get on with your life." First, Rosie, do you understand why she was upset?

O’DONNELL: I do, but when you do, like, 60 interviews in an hour, and every reporter asks you about "The View," you know, I do the best that I can. I tell the truth as much as I can with, with caring about other people's feelings. You, you don't hear the question that the reporter posed. All you hear is the answer.

VIEIRA: Well, what was the question?

O’DONNELL: Well, we can get it, but every reporter has a question about "The View." Are we really friends? Do you hang out together? And I say, you know, we don't go to Chili's together after the show and have buffalo wings and beer. I'm not saying they hate eachother, but they're not hanging out on the weekend. So, you know, and that, I think it- the fact that I hurt her is what hurts me. Because, you know, I was 14 years old, I watched the first woman ever at a presidential debate. She was the moderator between Carter and Ford. I remember it vividly. I was 15 she talked to Sadata and Begin. She was one of the women who paved the way for every other woman in television and broadcasting. And I love her regardless of the fact that to her I'm the rowdy teenage daughter she can't control, you know.

VIEIRA: But you sort of are when you make comments like that, why not just say nothing about "The View"? Do you regret that you talked about it or, or-

O’DONNELL: Not really because it's part of my life experience. It's, like, on my resume. You lived it. You watched it.

VIEIRA: I did.

O’DONNELL: And everybody can take away from it what they took away from it. I mean, I, the day that it got crazy, it went to the split screen.

VIEIRA: That's when you were arguing with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

O’DONNELL: Correct, and I wasn't paid to be on "Hardball." I was paid to be on an ensemble show. And if you watched back there was a lot of camaraderie on camera between us all before that day with "Hot Topics" discussed. So, you know, it never ever was my goal to hurt anyone there. And I did the best I could for the nine months. And when it was time to go I left.

VIEIRA: Was that sort of the beginning of the end for you, that moment when they did that split screen? Or was it before that with the whole Donald Trump-

O’DONNELL: Well, when Barbara asked me to do it, which was very kind of her and very touching, I said to her I would do it for one year to see how it would feel for me in my life to be back in the public eye and whether or not that would fit in my family life. So, you know, after the Donald Trump thing, after Christmas, after the first year I knew I wasn't going to re-sign. And I told Barbara that and she knew and it was okay. So, you know, I had two or three weeks left on my contract, but, you know, the split screen day was tough for me because you know the director Mark Genteel, takes a long time to get a single of anything.

VIEIRA: Rosie there you go again!

O’DONNELL: But my point is that, that was a- But do you think it was, that was not planned? You were there. Do you think that was not planned at the spur of the moment?

VIEIRA: I wasn't there. I don't know.

O’DONNELL: Have they ever used a split screen before?

VIEIRA: I don't believe they ever have.

O’DONNELL: No, or since.

VIEIRA: So you're still, you're still angry about it.

O’DONNELL: I'm not angry. I had feelings. I was there and I do care about Barbara Walters. You know, nobody has a movie relationship. Nobody has a sort of everything's always good all of the time. People have real relationships that are full of tense moments with your siblings, with people you work with, you know.

VIEIRA: Have you, have you talked to her since this latest-

O’DONNELL: I sent a letter to her the night it came out before she went on "The View" because I never called her a liar. And the reporter from the "LA Times" said I used that word. I never said that word in any interview that you have read. And I know it would hurt her. So I wrote her an e-mail saying I'm sorry it keeps coming up. I do the best I can. Have a great turkey. Cindy was on the phone. We can get you the transcripts. I love you, Rosie. But I think it comes a point where she's just had enough. And I think I'm hard to take for some people.

VIEIRA: So she never responded.

O’DONNELL: She did on the air. But that's okay. It's alright. You know, listen, you can't look at her life and her career and have anything but respect for her and I do love her, you know. And that's the bottom line. Love is complicated