The official word came at the opening of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s show. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Breaking news,Ã¢â‚¬? the combative South Nyack comedian said, before announcing she would not be returning next year as a full time co-host (her last show will be in late June). OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Donnell said she couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come to terms with ABC management over her contract. Some sources say she was asking for as much as $40 million a year. On the show, OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Donnell mentioned only one reason for the negotiation breakdown: ABC wanted her for three years, she only wanted to commit to one.
But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not all bad news for Rosie fans. She said she would be returning from time to time to guest host and do one-hour specials on topics such as autism. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not going away,Ã¢â‚¬? she said.
She also told her co-hosts (and the audience) not to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“sad.Ã¢â‚¬?
But Barbara Walters, who was sitting next to Rosie, responded, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am.Ã¢â‚¬?
She added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have had, to say the least, an interesting year.Ã¢â‚¬? It was Ã¢â‚¬Å“fun-filled and provocative.Ã¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You will be missed,Ã¢â‚¬? she told OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Donnell.
Joy Behar brought up the elephant in the room: Donald Trump. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on a ledge right now,Ã¢â‚¬? she said, adding itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been an Ã¢â‚¬Å“exciting year.Ã¢â‚¬?
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, RosieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s frequent conservative on-air sparring partner, had kind words for the woman she called a Ã¢â‚¬Å“catalyst.Ã¢â‚¬? This last year felt, she said, like Ã¢â‚¬Å“weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve taken off the shackles and had some purely honest conversations.Ã¢â‚¬?
For her part, Rosie conceded she Ã¢â‚¬Å“kicked it up a notch,Ã¢â‚¬? before telling Walters she was the reason she agreed to do the show, because, she said, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d do anything Walters asked her to. Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a legend, a living legend.Ã¢â‚¬?
For fans, detractors, and everyone else who tuned in to see what she would say next, Rosie had some advice: Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll still be on my blog.Ã¢â‚¬?
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)