Walters on Rosie-less ‘View’: Lets talk about sex!

Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Rosie O’Donnell may have bolted from “The View” last month, but the controversy about her role on the program has yet to abate.

On the eve of the Daytime Emmys, when the ABC chat fest is up for 10 awards, show creator Barbara Walters said that, while “it’s very hard for anyone to follow Rosie,” the co-hosts now are able to talk about matters like “heterosexual sex” that they couldn’t discuss when O’Donnell was the moderator.

“The Hot Topics have been fun,” Walters told KISS-FM’s Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday, referring to the segment in which the all-female panel dishes about various subjects. “There are some things that we were able to discuss that we weren’t able to discuss with Rosie, like heterosexual sex. Because, you know, Rosie’s lifestyle is different, being an open lesbian.”

When asked about Walters’ comment on her personal blog, O’Donnell responded: “She is almost 80.”

O’Donnell, who abruptly left “The View” in late May after an on-air blowup with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, has indicated on her blog that she has had little contact with her former co-hosts.

During Wednesday’s radio interview, Walters praised O’Donnell as “a great talent,” saying she “brought a lot of excitement and, of course, controversy to the show.”

After her departure, “we thought the ratings would go down, but they haven’t,” she added. “So obviously the audience is very loyal.”

Walters, an executive producer of the program, said, “We are taking our time a little bit” in picking new co-hosts. There are currently two empty seats at the table, as a permanent replacement for co-host Star Jones Reynolds was never selected after she left last year.

One candidate in the running: comedian Whoopi Goldberg, an O’Donnell friend who has frequently served as a guest host.

“She’s someone we’re considering,” Walters said. “Whoopi is wonderful. But this is a big thing to take on the job five days a week, every day. You have to really be committed to it.”