Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rosie Negotiates, Part II


The reviews of Rosie O'Donnell's on-air fight with Elizabeth Hasselbeck are in, and the winner is: live TV. I wonder if ABC is considering re-opening the negotiations with their soon-to-leave "The View" star?

"The View" is supposed to be a combustible mix but casting is always a crapshoot and contrived friction always rings hollow. Wednesday's terribly personal exchange seemed terribly real and utterly fascinating, on a par with John Stewart's skewering of Tucker Carlson a couple of years ago.

O'Donnell occasionally expresses herself so inartfully that her words do not match what one charitably believes she believes. Her remarks on the collapse of World Trade Tower 7 allowed her critics to argue O'Donnell was suggesting US complicity in the 9/11 attack. This time she
By walking away from her own Emmy-winning talk and an eponymous magazine years ago Rosie has established that she is motivated more by the length of a commitment than the compensation. She's gotta be free. She liked the $10 million, but needed only a year.

equated the deaths of 650,000 Iraqi civilians -- this is worst-case estimate not univerally accepted, but whatever -- with the 9/11 attacks. It was easy to infer that she was making a moral equivalence between the US troops (or at least the administration which sent them there) because the context of the discussion was -- again -- terrorism.

All For One and One For All

So her likely point, that one tragedy spawned another, avoidable tragedy, one was lost again. And lost in the rumble with Hasselbeck -- because O'Donnell hurled the loaded word "coward" -- was that this spat was about comradeship and how friends stand together when one is unfairly attacked. All for one and one for all and all that. Who knows if O'Donnell rates that loyalty from Hasselbeck, but she clearly expected it.

But forget the merits. It doesn't matter what they were talking about, only that they were talking and shouting and attacking and defending and putting on an intelligent extemporaneous show too rarely seen on TV. All this proves that "The View" is one of the few places where real emotion can bubble to the surface on subjects of import. And it also proves that this combination will be very tough to beat. What a great lesson on the last day of sweeps!

Rosie's contract expires at the end of June, and she is said to have walked away from an offer of three years for $6 million, looking for $10 million for one. By walking away from her own Emmy-winning talk and an eponymous magazine years ago she has established that she is motivated more by the length of a commitment than the compensation. She's gotta be free. She liked the $10 million, but needed only a year.

So here's what needs to happen: ABC approaches Rosie, tells her they fired the last guy who spoke to her people, his offer was an insult -- what was he thinking, he didn't clear it with us. What we meant to say was, $6 million for one year.

This could happen. And it should.

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