Barbara Walters is known for being a very serious journalist, but that doesn't mean she doesn't also have a sense of humor. In 1998, Walters managed to snag the first sit-down interview with the most talked-about person in the country at that time: Monica Lewinsky. While at the Lewinsky family home, this happened, in Monica's words: "My dad said I'd always been this good kid and never got into any trouble growing up—that I didn't do drugs or shoplift. Without missing a beat, Barbara quipped, 'Next time, shoplift.'"
Faye Dunaway Really Likes Exercising and Napping
When Faye Dunaway agreed to appear on The View, she had a few demands: a gym and a bed. The problem was that the studio didn't have either, but the producers weren't going to let a little technicality get in the way of a high-profile booking. "We moved an office and we made a bedroom and an exercise room for one appearance," senior producer Mark Lipinski said. "She was only there for a couple of hours."
Don't Even Think About Looking At Star Jones
After the show became a hit, some of the co-hosts let the fame get to their heads. Producers say they weren't allowed to make eye contact or speak to Star Jones. While filming at Disney World, Jones called up a publicist to complain about her hotel suite not overlooking the ocean. That's when she learned that Orlando is surrounded by land in all directions.
Every Day Was 'Bring Your Kid To Work Day' At The Rosie O'Donnell Show
Before her turn on The View, Rosie O'Donnell ran a tight ship on her own daytime talk show, firing anyone who slipped up. But she also proved to be a compassionate boss, building a full day-care center in the studio so parents could bring their children to work every day, free of charge.
Film Barbra Streisand On Her Good Side, Or Else
To prepare for a visit from her childhood idol, Barbra Streisand, Rosie flipped the entire set of The Rosie O'Donnell Show weeks in advance to showcase Streisand's preferred side without letting the audience find out the switch was due to the legend's vanity. When Ellen Degeneres didn't offer the same courtesy in 2017, Rosie was offended. "I will never talk to Ellen again," she said. Rosie also sent the Ellen executive producer a piece of her mind in the form of a terse email that simply read: "Go to hell."
In An Alternate Universe, Rosie and Oprah Are Co-Hosts
In the final years of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Rosie was feeling burnt out. And so was Oprah. They dreamed up a proposal that would merge their two talk shows, allowing each woman to take a half year off. The plan fell apart because different production companies owned each show.
In Another Alternate Universe, We're Tuning Into The Joy Behar Show
Another deal that fell through: When Rosie left her show in 2002, the studio wanted none other than The View's Joy Behar to take over. Joy decided to stick with her steady job but lived to regret it. "I wish I had jumped in," Joy said. "I think I would have done a pretty good job."
Be Careful What You Don't Wish For
In 2002, when a documentary filmmaker asked where she thought she would be in ten years, Rosie joked, "Probably a host on the f*cking View! Can you imagine that?!" She joined the show four years later.
A Blacklisted Whoopi Wanted A Seat At The View's Table
In 2006, after Meredith Viera left The View, Whoopi Goldberg, who had just been blacklisted due to a pretty toothless joke about George W. Bush—"I love bush. But someone is giving bush a bad name"—lobbied for the moderator seat. But Barbara Walters already had her sights on Rosie O'Donnell.
Rosie and Barbara Go To War (Because Of Some Dude Named Donald Trump)
In January 2007, after Barbara refused to defend Rosie in a battle of words with Donald Trump, Rosie let Barbara have it backstage in front of senior and junior staff. Rosie allegedly yelled that Barbara was a bad mother, saying, "No wonder Jackie [Barbara's daughter] can't stand you!" That meant war.
Don't Mess With Disney
Due to the huge ratings Rosie brought in for The View and Barbara's looming retirement, there were behind-the-scenes talks to hand over the reins of the show completely to Rosie or greenlight her own show. But this all fell apart when, on air during a discussion of the "war on terror," Rosie said, "In America, we are fed propaganda. And if you want to know what's happening in the world, go outside of the US media, because it's owned by four corporations. One of them is this one." Execs at Disney, which owns ABC, were outraged and decided they were done with Rosie.
Rosie's Last Day Involved Fireworks And A Split-Screen
Rosie's tenure at The View came to a fiery conclusion with a blowout argument over the Iraq War with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Everything you need to know about that moment and its implications can be found in this piece:
Elisabeth Quits The Show During An Expletive-Filled Commercial Break
This wasn't Elisabeth Hasselbeck's first on-air fight. After a heated discussion with Barbara Walters about the morning-after pill in 2006, an F-bomb-dropping Elisabeth walked off the set and quit the show. "What the f--k?!," Hasselbeck yelled. "I'm not going back out there! I don’t even swear. She has me swearing. This woman is driving me nuts! I’m not going back. I can’t do the show like this. She just reprimanded me, and she knew exactly what she was doing. Goodbye! I quit. I'm quitting. I’m off. Write about that in the New York F*cking Post!” She was eventually convinced to return to the couch for the rest of the episode and stayed on as co-host for another seven years. While reading this section of the book, I questioned whether this was an accurate description of what happened. The next day, the very real audio leaked. Enjoy!
With Friends Like These...
After leaving the show, Rosie wrote a memoir called Celebrity Detox, which included her thoughts about her time on The View. Barbara Walters leaked her copy to the New York Post under the condition that they would write an article depicting Rosie as an unhinged villain struggling with serious mental health issues. Meanwhile, Walters pretended to take the high road, saying, "Rosie has written a sad book, but I prefer to focus on the happier times we had and the happier times we hope to have in the future." Rosie never found out that Barbara was behind the NYP article...until now.
Rachel Maddow Almost Didn't Happen
Another instance of behind-the-scenes sabotage allegedly occurred when Barbara Walters talked MSNBC execs out of moving forward with a political show starring Rosie. That time slot eventually went to Rachel Maddow. But Rosie isn't too hurt over that. "I'm glad I didn't do it," she said. "Watching Rachel Maddow to me is like taking a class at Harvard. She's so freaking smart that, half the time, I have to watch it twice to understand the totality of what she's saying."
"Show Me The Money!" Should Be Rosie's Catchphrase
During negotiations to join The View, comedian Sherri Shepherd was in debt and worried about how small the studio's offer was. Enter Rosie O'Donnell, who coached Sherri through the negotiation process and ultimately helped her score a much better deal (a preliminary offer of one business-class plane ticket turned into eight first-class tickets, and the studio agreed to pay Sherri's rent—a whopping $85,000—for her first year). "I was very thankful to Rosie for what she did for me," Sherri said.
Barbara Is Not A Fan Of Katy Perry Or Jenny McCarthy
When Jenny McCarthy joined the panel, her role was meant to center around pop culture. But this quickly shifted when Barbara didn't know any current celebrities, at one point saying the following about Katy Perry: "Who is it that you're talking about and why are you bringing her up?" To which Jenny answered, "That's Katy Perry. You interviewed her last week!" Another time, Barbara asked on air, "Who is Jenny McCarthy?"
Jenny McCarthy shared that Barbara was unfairly focused on her, going so far as to inspect her clothing each day and order her to change outfits. Things took a turn for the absurd when a very upset Barbara approached Jenny, yelling at her in front of guests over... well, just read this:
Barbara: "Jenny, there's a tampon floating in the toilet and it's disgusting."
Jenny: "I don't have my period. It's not mine."
Barbara: "Do something about it!"
Jenny decided not to yell back at her employer and instead sucked it up and went to flush the tampon.
Selfie, The (Imaginary?) Vibrator
Barbara's unusual behavior continued. During a conversation about Valentine's Day, she blurted out that she owned a vibrator nicknamed Selfie. On a later episode, she issued a correction: "I don't have a vibrator! I don't even put my cell phone on vibrate."
Mean Girls 2
After Barbara retired, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd were unceremoniously fired and the show got a major makeover, with only Whoopi returning. Enter Rosie for round two, which went about as well as the last go-round. "Whoopi Goldberg was as mean as anyone has ever been on television to me," Rosie said. "Worse than Fox News. The worst experience I've ever had on live television was interacting with her."
Old Feuds Die Hard
Whoopi, who was recently eying an exit from The View, agreed to be interviewed for Ladies Who Punch, only to change her mind and stick with the show. She has since allegedly let it be known that she hates the book cover because it features a rendering of her sitting next to Rosie.
There is so much more where all of this came from. Author Ramin Setoodeh wasn't lying in titling this book "explosive." Me after reading: