Beloved lesbian Rosie O’Donnell announced on Apr 25 that she is leaving The View, ABC’s daytime talk show, when her one-season contract expires in June. She said that she was not able to come to an agreement with the network, which reportedly aimed to sign O’Donnell to an additional three-year deal when she only wanted to agree to one.
The outspoken, outrageously out entertainer will continue to make guest appearances on the show in the future, for things like a special program on autism. Intense speculation about her career plans and her replacement on The View began immediately.
O’Donnell helped re-invigorate ratings for The View, now 10 years old and invented by television icon Barbara Walters. Her fiery presence was a source of near constant controversy, most especially throughout a nasty name-calling feud with real estate magnat Donald Trump that placed Walters squarely, even uncomfortably, in the middle.
During her brief but tumultuous tenure on the show since September, O’Donnell frequently sparred with her more conservative host partner, Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She also memorably accused fellow ABC daytime host Kelly Ripa of making a homophobic remark.
Most importantly, as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation noted in its response to her departure announcement, O’Donnell used her elite platform to place LGBT issues in front of Americans daily. She told stories about her life and her family that brought unprecedented visibility for LGBT Americans at a time when they desperately needed it.