Barbara Walters unplugged: I lied for Star Jones, Rosie is full of 'anger' and 'rage'

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First lady of television Barbara Walters admitted Tuesday she repeatedly lied to viewers for former "The View" host Star Jones, and described Rosie O'Donnell as full of rage and anger.


Walters showed a side most have never seen before in an exclusive interview Tuesday on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" promoting her new book "Audition."


The veteran journalist and celebrity interviewer said a "cloud came over her" the day Star Jones unexpectedly decided to announce she was leaving "The View" during a live broadcast.


Walters described the first nine years of the daytime show as "awesome," but said after host Meredith Vieira announced she was leaving the show, Jones began to change.


"She was clinically obese. She could barely walk onto the set," Walters said of Jones. "[She] decided to have an operation, but then she decided not to tell anyone."


"We had to then lie on the set everyday because she said it was portion control and Pilates," Walters said. "She was our colleague, and she really did not want us to out her."


Four months after Jones decided to have gastric bypass surgery, Jones met soon-to-be hubby Al Reynolds and decided she wanted to have the "biggest" wedding fit for a princess, Walters said.


Walters said Jones made a whirlwind tour of interviews chronicling her weight loss in return for free flowers and other gifts for her luxurious wedding.


With ratings in the slump, ABC execs met with Walters and told her Jones needed to go.


"They thought she was greatly damaging the program. The audience didn't know her anymore," Walters said. "They didn't relate to her anymore. They didn't like her anymore. She was getting thinner and thinner and everything was perfect in her life, but it wasn't."


Walters said she was furious with Jones for announcing her departure on air the way she did, but said the two have met since to bury the hatchet.


Describing a new chapter in "The View" history, Walters said she approached Rosie O'Donnell to return to daytime television, but went on to described O'Donnell as being full of "rage" and "anger."


"She began to think of me as her mother -- that was both good and bad," Walters said. From day one, Walters said O'Donnell made some wonderful changes on the show, but that it was also a very difficult time.


Walters said the day the O'Donnel/Donald Trump feud erupted, she was on a cruise in the Carribbean and got a call from show execs saying O'Donnell called Trump a "snake oil salesman" and that he was bankrupt.


Walters spoke with Trump shortly after the show, who began giving interviews of his own, saying Walters believed Rosie was a big mistake on the show.


She said although ratings for the show surged during the Trump fued, it was a challenging time for her and O'Donnell.


"She felt I hadn't supported her enough," Walters said. "She felt as much as I defended her, I didn't defend her in life."


O'Donnell had only signed on to do one year as host of "The View," but that relationship came to an abrupt end when she and co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck had a big blowup on the show.


"There came a screaming match like you've never heard before," Walters said, who wasn't on the show that day but said she called the control room during the feud and begged them to go to a commercial break.


The show's producer refused to go to commercial because O'Donnell said she would walk off the stage if that happened.


"Rosie for her own reasons decided not to come back," Walters said. "I will always have the greatest affection for her. She gave the show a new boost."


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3 Comments

I believe Elizabeth needs to go. I stopped watching the show when she came on but started watching again when Rosie was there. I loved it with Rosie. I stopped again when Rosie left but when Whoppi came I came back. During the election I really began to dislike Elizabeth a lot and stopped watching. I will come back if Elizabeth leaves. I don't think she adds ANYTHING to the show.

While I admire Barbara Walters, I find her criticism of Star Jones secrecy about her surgery quite brutal. Especially looking at Barbara Walters and knowing she has had her own nips and tucks on her own face.

While I don't particularly like Rosie O'Donnell, I think Elisabeth is terrible on the show. Except for quoting things she hears in newspapers and magazines, she isn't as well informed as the other hosts. I believe The View should have sent her packing at the same time as Rosie and bring on another Republican with some intelligence.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Bieganski published on May 6, 2008 9:49 AM.

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