Rosie O’Donnell came close to getting Julie Chen’s job on The Talk. The former TheView co-host reportedly wanted the hosting job on the Emmy-winning CBS talk show, but talks reportedly broke down over money. The job ultimately went to Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, a longtime guest co-host on The Talk and Chen’s personal replacement choice.
Author Ramin Setoodeh, the man behind the buzzy, bestselling book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, told Access Live that he contacted Rosie as soon as he heard that Chen was leaving her high-profile moderator post on The Talk amid her husband Les Moonves’ misconduct scandal and firing from CBS last September.
“[Rosie] and I were talking on Twitter and I DM-ed her right when Julie Chen left, and she said she was interested in the seat. She went out and tried it. She was open to moving to Los Angeles at the time. She’s now said that she doesn’t want to move, but she was interested in doing the show. I think money was an issue. Rosie O’Donnell isn’t cheap. She brings it.”
Setoodeh also provided some insight into Rosie O’Donnell’s ill-fated stints on rival ABC talk show The View. Rosie joined The View in 2006 as a moderator and famously quit the show the following year after an on-air blowout with co-host Elisabeth Hasselback. O’Donnell’s surprising return to The View in 2014 didn’t fare much better. According to Setoodeh, Rosie O’Donnell butted heads with moderator Whoopi Goldberg on a daily basis during her short-lived return because she wanted the moderator seat herself.
In the book, Rosie is quoted as saying no one on television has ever been as mean to her as Whoopi Goldberg was on The View, and that interacting with the actress was the worst experience she has ever had on live television. Setoodeh told Access that Rosie’s return to The View was doomed from the start because she was eyeing the moderator chair she once held.
“I think the most difficult situation in the show was 2014, Barbara Walters retires, Whoopi Goldberg’s the moderator, they bring Rosie O’Donnell back for the second time on the show. And she wants to be the moderator and you can see it, the viewers could see it every single day they were fighting. She said Whoopi was worse to her than Fox News. Which is pretty bad if you’re Rosie O’Donnell because Fox News has been pretty tough on Rosie O’Donnell.”
Rosie O’Donnell has not commented on Ramin Setoodeh’s new talk about her near-miss as a host on The Talk, but the 57-year-old star recently told Us Weekly she wishes she never agreed to be interviewed by the author of Ladies Who Punch to begin with.
“My biggest regret was ever sitting down with him for 20 minutes, and that’s exactly what I did to appease my publicist,” O’Donnell said of her interviews with the author.
In the unflattering tell-all about the ABC chatfest, O’Donnell discussed her headline-making feud with Elisabeth Hasselbeck and hinted about her former co-star’s “underlying lesbian undertones.” O’Donnell also dredged up an old feud she had with Kelly Ripa in which she called her a homophobe, and she went into detail about her issues with Goldberg, whom she once viewed as an idol and mentor.
Although Rosie O’Donnell regrets being interviewed for The View tell-all, Ramin Setoodeh told Us he is grateful that the former ABC star sat down with him for “an honest conversation” for his book. The author described O’Donnell as “an influential part of the show’s history.”
Of course, if Rosie O’Donnell still wants a job on The Talk, there will be another seat open very soon. Show creator and longtime co-host Sara Gilbert has just announced that she is exiting the CBS chatfest at the end of the current season. Many Talk fans are hoping that there will still be LGBTQ representation on the show after Sara leaves. In addition to Carrie Ann Inaba, The Talk, which airs weekdays on CBS, stars Sharon Osbourne, Eve, and Sheryl Underwood.