Top TV Stories of 2007: Rosie vs. Elisabeth - VIDEO
Some people don't think this should be a "top story" of 2007, as I've heard it decried already around the interwebs, but the fact remains that this feud was all over the news, garnered high ratings and made The View one of the most buzzed about shows of 2007. Regardless of if you think Rosie was being a bully or Elisabeth was being a baby or if both were being words we don't say in polite company, it was a big deal. I know when I heard she was joining the show for its tenth season, my first thought was "The View is still on the air?"
Granted I'm not the demographic for this show, but nevertheless I appreciate that Rosie brought some depth to the topics and more meat to the program; a change which appears to be continuing under new moderator Whoopi Goldberg. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Rosie came on board in September of 2006. The extremely "left" Rosie often sparred with the extremely "right" Elisabeth Hasselbeck. In May 2007 it culminated into a split-screen screamfest that will, for whatever reason, go down in television history.
It all started when Rosie made some controversial comments on May 17: "655,000 Iraqi civilians dead. Who are the terrorists? If you were in Iraq and another country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?" Conservative pundits jumped on this and said she was calling US soldiers terrorists. Then on May 23, Rosie called Elisabeth out saying she did not back Rosie's right to disagree with the Iraq situation. It got ugly from there as you can see in the embedded video below.
The split screen effect had never before been used on the show, which often featured the co-hosts arguing over one another, and while ratings were huge for the fight and buzz about the show was at an all-time high, the writing was on the wall. Rosie and ABC mutually agreed to cut short her contract on May 25 and she was gone. I guess she was just too much for the usually low-key gabfest to handle.
Hasselbeck and O'Donnell have since made up, with Hasselbeck making brief appearances on Rosie's vlog (Jahero) at Rosie.com. Other View co-hosts have appeared as well. Rosie's blog has become tremendously popular, and is cited often when she responds to some newsworthy event (say in a poorly written haiku). Hasselbeck is currently on maternity leave from The View, with naysayers already wondering if she'll return in January as promised. Meanwhile, Whoopi took over from Rosie and is just as outspoken, already creating a stir over the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal and other topics.
However you want to look at it, The View remains more topical than it ever was with ratings much stronger than they've been in a long time. The average American knows of the show now and remembers that it's still on the air. Rosie was volatile, outspoken and borderline hostile, and she was the best thing to ever happen to The View. Good or bad, she put that show on the cultural map, and this on-air fight cemented its position there.
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