Rosie O’Donnell is returning to “The View,” but this time as a guest.
Executive producers Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie announced Monday the former co-host would return to “The View” on Feb. 7, marking her first appearance on the show since her fiery tenure as moderator from 2006 to 2007.
During that time, the left-leaning comedian steered the conversation to politics and clashed bitterly with Elisabeth Hasselbeck over hot-button issues, particularly the war in Iraq. Although the show’s ratings and buzz factor surged during her tenure on the air, O’Donnell left abruptly a month before her contract was up.
At the time, she chalked her exit up to an inability to reach a new deal with ABC, but also indicated her toxic relationship with Hasselbeck was a contributing factor. O’Donnell also said she planned to return occasionally to the show as a correspondent, a possibility that failed to materialize. Instead, she returned to daytime in 2011 with an OWN talk show that was yanked after just five months because of low ratings.
Nearly seven years after O’Donnell’s departure, “The View” is also in a very different place. Walters is set to retire this year, and the show is undergoing some growing pains. Hasselbeck and her frequent sparring partner Joy Behar were edged out last year, reportedly because viewers had grown weary of their partisan bickering. Meanwhile, the addition of Jenny McCarthy has drawn widespread criticism. It has also seen increased ratings competition from CBS’ “The Talk,” which was initially seen as a flagrant knock-off but has since come into its own.
In Monday’s announcement, Walters said, “I have great affection for Rosie and we have remained in contact through the years. I am happy to welcome her back to the program. She is always a lively and engaging guest and a part of the show’s successful history.”
O’Donnell’s decision to return to “The View,” if for only a day, probably has something to do with her current gig on the ABC Family series, “The Fosters,” about a lesbian couple with a brood of multiethnic foster children.