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Rosie O'Donnell
leaving The View

Rosie O'Donnell
leaving The View

Rosie O'Donnell's stormy tenure on The View will be a short one: The opinionated host was unable to agree on a contract with ABC, and she'll leave the show in June.

''My needs for the future just didn't dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me,'' O'Donnell said in a statement Wednesday.

''This has been an amazing experience,'' she said, ''and one I wouldn't have traded for the world.''

O'Donnell has helped raise the ratings for the daytime chat show invented by Barbara Walters. But her outspokenness has caused almost constant controversy, including a nasty name-calling feud with Donald Trump that placed Walters squarely in the middle.

''I induced Rosie to come back to television on The View even for just one year,'' 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.''

Walters was frequently left to clean up the damage after O'Donnell. She did it most recently Monday, when O'Donnell was criticized for using bad language and attacking Rupert Murdoch from the dais of the annual New York Women in Communication awards luncheon.

''I would like to point out that Rosie's view is not always mine,'' Walters said. ''I would like to say for the record that I am very fond of Rupert Murdoch.''

In the Trump imbroglio, O'Donnell was reportedly mad that Walters did not come more swiftly to her defense, while Trump said Walters told him she didn't want O'Donnell on the show--a claim Walters denied.

Statements by public figures are being watched more closely in the post-Don Imus era. The lobbying group Focus on the Family said it was preparing to contact advertisers on The View as part of a campaign against O'Donnell. The group is angry at O'Donnell for comments they feel were insulting to Catholics.

Despite controversy--or maybe because of it--O'Donnell was good business for ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co. Ratings for The View during February sweeps were up 15% in key women demographics over the same time in 2006.

Bill Carroll, an expert in the syndication market for Katz Television, said he'd be surprised if ABC didn't try hard to keep O'Donnell, given the attention she brought to the long-running show.

The timing of the announcement doesn't particularly suit O'Donnell if she wants to remain in daytime television. She wouldn't be able to introduce a new program to the syndication market until September 2008, he said. But the company that produced O'Donnell's long-running daytime show has expressed interest in having her back, he said. (David Bauder, AP)

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