Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Star Jones was right – Walters didn’t have her back

Note: this post has been updated. Please scroll to the end.

I never thought I would see the day when I took the side of Star Jones – the Bridezilla grifter and slavering fan of Hillary Clinton – but alas, that day has arrived. I am marginally – marginally – on the side of Jones, in the imbroglio over her departure from the View and the hiring of Rosie O’Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira.

As I recall, and as Jones reminded the public on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show this morning, the View announced the hiring of Rosie O’Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira the same week that O’Donnell publicly dissed Jones: O’Donnell said that Jones should fess up to having had gastric by-pass surgery. (Yes, when I am looking for someone to keep it real, I always think of Rosie O’Donnell, who was pretending to be straight and in love with Tom Cruise when she last had a daytime talk show in the 90s.) From the

Star Jones fired back on Ryan Seacrest’s morning radio show in Los Angeles, reports.

Star told KIIS FM: “I’m not trying to be emotional about this. I understand it was a business decision. I understood it was a business decision when I was told then. But then in that same week, I was told they were adding a new co-host and it was Rosie O’Donnell. And that was the same week that she had been so nasty and vicious towards me. Rosie insulted me. She tried to damage me professionally and personally...

“It’s a little shocking to me that Barbara feels betrayed. I was really surprised that Barbara feels betrayed. If you watched me yesterday, I said that she was the most amazing mentor and I thanked her for the most amazing opportunity. My departure was orchestrated some time ago. And while I can accept any business decision, it’s hard to accept the manner in which it was handled during the last two months. But, if you use words like betrayal, if anyone should be betrayed, it should be me! Barbara didn’t have my back...

I recall that, instead of defending Jones against O’Donnell’s criticism, Walters was reported to have said that if a problem were to emerge on the View after O’Donnell’s arrival, it would not be because of O’Donnell. (Take that, Star!)

Walters’ choosing to defend the incoming O’Donnell over the not-yet-outgoing Jones was telling, and surprising, considering that of all the View co-hosts, Jones has been the most reliable and notorious braun noser of Walters.

True, after O’Donnell’s hiring was announced, Jones apparently did float some items in the gossip columns about looking for other work. Why shouldn’t she, after Walters had already taken O’Donnell’s side? And Jones' outburst yesterday should not have been unexpected.

Further, Walters’ story is that ABC made the decision to fire Jones (or, in their words, not renew her contract). Are we to believe that if Walters had opposed that decision, she was helpless to reverse it? ABC Daytime was nowhere until Walters came along and created the View. She is also the View’s co-producer. If she really wanted Jones to stay, she probably could have made it happen. Instead, she is hiding behind the ABC suits.

Walters’ claim that she has been trying to protect Jones is not credible, in light of the facts that (1) she apparently made no effort to challenge ABC’s decision to dump Jones, (2) she and her co-producer hired someone who had publicly trashed a current co-host and (3) she publicly took the side of O’Donnell over Jones.

Frankly, I am baffled by the hiring of O’Donnell. She doesn’t have Vieira’s gravitas, and her addition to the View table seems redundant: Joy Behar already amply fills the mold of the fat, angry, menopausal, New York liberal.

And speaking of angry, O’Donnell is a very angry woman. During the trial of the suit against her by the publishers of McCall’s magazine – the demise of which followed O’Donnell’s becoming its editorial director – some very ugly testimony was heard about O’Donnell’s behaviour. She told Cindy Spengler, head of marketing of McCall’s, that her silence in a meeting of the magazine was tantamount to lying. Spengler quoted O’Donnell as saying, “You know what happens to people who lie. They get sick and they get cancer. If they keep lying, they get it again.”

Ironically, O’Donnell was caught in a lie herself, when she admitted having lied in a deposition that she never made the remark.

Check out this link for more stories of Rosie’s public tirades.

I don’t envy the View’s staffers. Methinks there will be some serious resume-polishing going on over the summer.

O’Donnell is reportedly returning to TV to bolster her own fading celebrity, having whinged that she recently had to wait in line for a table at a restaurant. Oh, the humanity.

I don’t know that I’ll be watching the View regularly when O’Donnell joins the table in the fall, but I’m definitely looking forward to see what Saturday Night Live does with the new lineup and Jones' absence from it.

Addendum: Part of the Walters camp’s spin is the claim that ABC had done audience research that found viewers had been turned off by Jones’ weight loss and wedding. I guess that’s possible, but I’d love to see the research – if any – on O’Donnell.

After her ugly lawsuit over McCall’s, same-sex wedding in San Francisco (which, like all the others performed there, there was nullified because cities can’t change marriage laws), same-sex family cruise line, regular attacks on Bush (sorry, but some of the View’s audience supports him – why else do they let the inept Elisabeth Hasselbeck defend him on occasion?), etc., could O’Donnell have a better image among the View's target audience than Jones? I doubt it, which lends more weight to the theory that Walters was behind dumping Jones – not the suits at ABC.


Anonymous said...

This is the first rational posting I've seen on the Star Jones Reynolds situation. You have a level-head, and you're a good writer. Thanks!

Malaika said...

FINALLY!!! someone else who sees reason in this whole drama!! I hadn't heard about the interview with Ryan Seacrest, but I'd already thought the whole process through to the same conclusion that Star mentioned (as quoted here). I swear I have lost tonsssssss of respect for barbara..

gimbol said...

Usually when an organization is changing the deck chairs, its a sign that all is not well.
This public execution tends to support the contention that the View may have jumped the shark.

I give it till November till it gets cancelled for the next flavour of the moment.

LittleBrownGirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LittleBrownGirl said...

Walters should be old enough to know better than to air the dirty laundry of her show in public. I have never been a fan of Star Jones, but until yesterday, I admired the accomplishments of Walters.

The more BW talked the less sense she made and her credibility slipped by the boat load. This show was basically over yesterday, but may limp on for another year before the execs send the whole lot of them packing including BW.

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