Ms. Walters' 'View' of Rosie

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Ratings are up over at ABC's "The View," which means Rosie O'Donnell has so far delivered the boost everyone expected. But she's also delivered a couple of other things, such as opinions that radical Christians are as bad as radical Islamists, and that Oprah Winfrey is maybe just a tiny bit gay. Founder and co-host Barbara Walters-who The New York Times noted last week has moved her seat to sit to the far right of Rosie-wants to assure everyone she is more than capable of handling Rosie's controversial opinions.

For one, she's already cut Rosie's legs out from under her, literally. Here's what Rosie wrote on her blog shortly after her Sept. 5 debut:

my torso is so long

i look like gigantor the spaceage robot

next to ms walters

they cut 3 inches off the chair

by day 2

But Ms. Walters wants to make it clear she is not going to be overshadowed by Rosie in any way, and in her interview with the Times gets across that she has reined her in as needed, putting the kibosh on any bashing. "Rosie's opinions are her own. They're very strong," Ms. Walters told the Times. "And I don't mind opinions. But I don't want us to be bashing anybody. We've talked about that, and Rosie is very conscious of it." On several shows, co-hosts Joy Behar, Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Ms. Walters herself have tripped over themselves to talk over Rosie and steer her away from topics better left unexplored.

One group Rosie is not bashing-and one reason the producers at "The View" were sold on bringing her on board-is advertisers. Already she has given the audience Keebler cookies, complete with a song and dance with the elves, as well as a Royal Caribbean cruise, a TiVo and a $100 gift certificate to Home Depot, all of which got their own song and dance in the form of in-show plugs and mentions on the website that in some cases go so far as to tell users how to buy the products. So what does Ms. Walters want viewers and others to know? "The View" is controlled controversy. And that's a safe place for advertisers.
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