Rosie O'Donnell Leaves 'The View'

Had Controversial Opinions but Integrated Brands Into Show

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's time to say goodbye to Rosie. On ABC's daytime talk show "The View" today, the controversial comic confirmed she will not be returning next year because she and ABC could not come to an agreement on the renewal of Ms. O'Donnell's contract.
Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O'Donnell Credit: AP

Ms. O'Donnell wanted to stay on only for one more year, but the network wanted to keep her for three. "A three-year deal, I didn't want to do. And a one-year deal, they couldn't do. And so here we are, but it's OK. And the blog will continue," Rosie said this morning on her Rosie.com video blog.

A spokeswoman for "The View" did not return calls for comment.

Will guest host
Ms. O'Donnell, during her announcement this morning, said she will occasionally guest host on "The View," as well as continue with other projects for the network, such as a planned one-hour special on autism.

Ms. O'Donnell often found herself in the hot seat by voicing her opinions on such topics as 9/11 conspiracy theories and President George W. Bush. Last year, a heated name-calling feud started between Ms. O'Donnell and Donald Trump. The spat garnered major press coverage and left "View" creator and co-host Barbara Walters stuck in the middle.

Despite her theatrics on the show, Ms. O'Donnell has helped raise ratings for "The View," which was up 15% in female demographics during February sweeps.

She has also shown an ability to plug the show's sponsors during tapings with giveaways. She even placed brands in Broadway-style songs she performed on-air. Among "The View's" top advertisers are Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson, Altria Group, SC Johnson & Son, Sears Holdings Corp., Clorox Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Lab and Unilever.

K-C saw results
A Kimberly-Clark Corp. spokesman declined to comment on Ms. O'Donnell's contract status or possible departure from the show. But he did say that a multibrand giveaway promotion Kimberly-Clark launched in January that was heavily integrated into "The View" and included a song-and-dance sendoff from Ms. O'Donnell "was one of our most successful promotions ever."

The partnership "was with 'The View,' not Rosie O'Donnell," the spokesman noted. He said Kimberly-Clark had no plans to pull any advertising from the show over any of her comments.

A P&G spokeswoman likewise said the company hadn't made any changes in its advertising plans because of Ms. O'Donnell's comments.

Balanced by others
"We find that 'The View' reaches a great target audience for our brands, and so we continue to advertise on it," she said. Previously, in explaining why P&G had stuck with "The View" while pulling its ads from Imus, she noted that Ms. O'Donnell's viewpoint is one of many expressed on the show and is balanced by other viewpoints.

(P&G is well aware of the potential pain involved in crossing Ms. O'Donnell. In the 1990s, when she had her own syndicated talk show, P&G's Scope brand issued a press release based on a survey naming Ms. O'Donnell the "least kissable celebrity in America." Ms. O'Donnell responded with a "Just Say Nope to Scope" segment on her show.)

Ms. O'Donnell most recently stirred controversy when she made comments about News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch at a New York Women in Communication awards luncheon on Monday. "This is a celebration of women who changed the world," she said, "and no one understands why Rupert Murdoch is on the dais. I mean that in the kind, loving Post-like way, sir; it's delightful to see you in person."
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