With former rival Howard Stern, Rosie O’Donnell talks career, love life and 9/11

Shock-jock Howard Stern, in part known for participating in celebrity feuds with personalities ranging from Elaine Boosler to Kathie Lee Gifford, continued his recent fence-mending trend this morning.

howard.jpgFollowing a volatile two-decade feud with Bedford resident Chevy Chase, the two buried the hatchet on-air last year. And this morning, Stern fans — possibly for the first time on the radio — heard the deejay who launched his pro career in Briarcliff Manor chatting it up with South Nyack resident Rosie O’Donnell.

Back in its hey-day, the throwdown got downright nasty, at times making O’Donnell’s feud with Westchester real estate maven Donald Trump look like rock-paper-scissors by comparison. On Stern’s show in 1998, the staff once estimated the size of O’Donnell’s noggin, filled what was deemed a comparable container with jellybeans and challenged visiting celebrities and listeners to guess the number. And O’Donnell always had some choice words about Stern whenever his more militant fans prank-called her self-titled talk show.

rosie.jpgIn recent years, however, Stern’s rants about Rosie subsided, particularly after he admitted on the air a year or two ago that they had a nice chat when bumping into each other at a restaurant.

Today, O’Donnell called from her home — presumably in South Nyack — to chat it up with Howard and the gang. The gripping interview, which lasted almost an hour, covered her career, her love life and her controversial theory about 9/11.

On quitting her own talk show: “I left because I could no longer enjoy it the way one should enjoy their work, and I was sort of paying someone else to raise my kids and (hated) not having time to live my life.”

On ‘The View’: O’Donnell said she respects her successor, Whoopi Goldberg, because of her ability to be real; remains friendly with Sarah Lawrence College grad Barbara Walters; but was never completely embraced by Joy Behar (for whom O’Donnell opened early in her career as a stand-up comedian). The liberal O’Donnell said she has only exchanged a few baby-related e-mails with conservative “View” cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck since O’Donnell left the show. Then O’Donnell admitted that Hasselbeck was the most attractive woman on the show.

On her celebrity crushes: O’Donnell, a lesbian, said she really did have a crush on Tom Cruise and revealed that Matthew McConaughey also turned her on while slow-talking his way through a description on how to make beer-can chicken. She said her current celebrity crushes include Angelina Jolie, Angela Bassett, Penélope Cruz, Salma Hayek and Diane Lane. Not on that list, however, is Stern’s fiancée, Beth Ostrosky, whom O’Donnell complimented and described as a “too perfect … Barbie doll.”

On her love life: She said she was sexually abused as a child, lost her virginity when she was 21 to a man, and could count her number of sexual conquests on “two hands.” She added that rumors of a wild life as a single woman had been greatly exaggerated, adding, “I’m not even nude in the shower.”

After the break, find out O’Donnell’s take on Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, her current tour and her curiosity about the Twin Towers’ collapse. Continue reading

Let the betting begin: Who will replace Rosie O’Donnell on ‘The View’?

The following are some names being thrown around to fill Rosie’s “moderator” role on the 10-year-old daytime chat show. Will the producers go for someone a bit more mellow or will they go for another firebrand who will bring in controversy and viewers? We’ll find out soon. In the meantime, let’s judge the potentials based on various Rosie-related attributes.

tjndc5-5f0rqj8zln856zhtkx9_layout.jpgRoseanne Barr
Buzz Potential (will she get people to talk about her): 6.Three words: Star Spangled Banner. That was something! But then again, it was 17 years ago. When was the last time we talked about her?
Bight (willing to take on feuds; has “edge”): 7. Her classic feud with Tom Arnold indicates she’s not afraid to use the media to try to make men cry. But then, Arnold is such an easy target. Will she go after big dogs like Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly? Also, earlier this year, she caused a stir when she said politically active gay and lesbian people never talk about anything that’s “not about them…some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing, and sometimes I wonder.” She later apologized and said she didn’t mean it.

Popularity (do people know her? love her?): 7. She is one of the most popular television actresses of all time, singlehandedly redefining what it means to be a sitcom star. But that didn’t help her syndicated talk-show, which tanked in 2000.
Political Savvy (can she talk intelligently about matters of importance–you know, like co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck does): 8. Comfortable mixing it up with uber-political bully Bill Maher on his 100-miles-an-hour, take-no-prisoner HBO late night political chat show, Real Time.
Experience (does she know how to lead a show?): 5. As stated above—remember The Roseanne Show? No neither do we.

Whoopi Goldberg

tjndc5-5f0rq916o5egbul5kx9_layout.jpgBuzz Potential: 6. No major controversies in her past (unless you take into account then boyfriend Ted Danson’s black face performance at her roast), but she is certainly willing to give her opinion, as witnessed by her frequent guest-hosting stints on The View.

Bight: 8. On one such guest-hosting appearance she told Joy to let her finish when the red-head interrupted something she was saying. When her radio show debuted last year, it was subject to multiple prank calls from fans of two satellite radio shock jocks (Opie and Anthony). Goldberg invited the duo onto her show and they had a surprisingly good-natured discussion.

Popularity: 6. O’Donnell has stated she would like to see Goldberg take over for her–but then, I’m not sure how much sway her word has right now with ABC.

Political savvy: 8. Can speak intelligently about national affairs. An avowed critic of the President.

Experience: 8. Apparently she hosts a radio show…and apparently people listen to it. Also, her hosting gigs at the various Comic Relief events since 1990, means she knows how to handle crazy zoos with comics like Robin Williams. Also, not that it has anything to do with hosting The View, but the lady has won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Tony. Can you beat that, Barbara?

Bette Midler

tjndc5-5f0rr1p85sjpf3b2kx9_layout.jpgBuzz Potential: 9. The acerbic comedian/singer/actress would be a real coup for the show…but is she interested in the gig?

Bight: 6. Sure, she’s “tough,” but not quite as hard-edged as some of the other contenders. Her tearful send off to Johnny Carson turned her into sentimental heavyweight, not a brawler.

Popularity: 8. She’s succeeding Celine Dion as the headliner at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, which certainly sounds like a big deal.

Political savvy: 5. Not known as a politically astute diva, ala Barbra Streisand.

Experience: 4. Used to chanting crowds, but never hosted a TV show (though she has sat on plenty of TV couches over the years).

Continue reading

Rosie O’Donnell ‘will be missed’ at The View

tjndc5-5dtk6xitq3n93pps8f8_layout.jpgThe official word came at the opening of today’s show. “Breaking news,� 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). O’Donnell said she couldn’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, O’Donnell mentioned only one reason for the negotiation breakdown: ABC wanted her for three years, she only wanted to commit to one.

But it’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. “I’m not going away,� she said.

She also told her co-hosts (and the audience) not to be “sad.�

But Barbara Walters, who was sitting next to Rosie, responded, “I am.�

She added, “We have had, to say the least, an interesting year.� It was “fun-filled and provocative.�

“You will be missed,� she told O’Donnell.

Joy Behar brought up the elephant in the room: Donald Trump. “He’s on a ledge right now,� she said, adding it’s been an “exciting year.�

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie’s frequent conservative on-air sparring partner, had kind words for the woman she called a “catalyst.� This last year felt, she said, like “we’ve taken off the shackles and had some purely honest conversations.�

For her part, Rosie conceded she “kicked it up a notch,� before telling Walters she was the reason she agreed to do the show, because, she said, she’d do anything Walters asked her to. “You’re a legend, a living legend.�

For fans, detractors, and everyone else who tuned in to see what she would say next, Rosie had some advice: “I’ll still be on my blog.�

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Joy Behar and Rosie O. have ‘gone radical’ on The View

That’s at least what Behar told TV Guide’s Michael Logan. She says the ten year old show got a “big shot in the armâ€? when Rosie arrived this fall. “It’s like we’ve gone radical,â€? the outspoken liberal comic said. “There were certain restraints before — I won’t go into what that dynamic was — but the restraints have been lifted and Rosie and I encourage each other to say whatever we want. Can you call her and tell her to stay?â€?

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Wow, sounds like everything going well on the View set, despite rumors Joy was feeling outshined by the more well known funny lady from Nyack. Joy officially cleared the air—it’s not true.

<blockquote><div>People were afraid. They said, “Two comedians? No way. They’ll be competitive.” Well, it’s not true. It’s a much better match than people thought.</div></blockquote>

Here’s what else she had to say…

Joy on Donald Trump:

<blockquote><div>He’s very small. And you know what they say about guys like that: small-minded, small… well, you know where I’m going. He’s a pain. But you know what? It juices up the show because Rosie gets mad. She can’t take it. </div></blockquote>

On the possibility of finally finding a replacement for Star Jones:

<blockquote><div>I say leave it alone. It’s working the way it is!</div></blockquote>

On the rotating roster of guest hosts that have been sitting in:

<blockquote><div>I’m not wild about the idea unless it’s someone the audience already knows really well, like Whoopi Goldberg. That way we can jump into the hot topics immediately without having to explain who the guest host is and take up time interviewing her.</div></blockquote>