LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The last person who thought Rosie O'Donnell would ever return to "The View" was Rosie O'Donnell. In the spring of 2007, the talk show host opted not to renew her contract with the gabfest created by Barbara Walters, even though her controversial opinions gave the program a ratings boost. Then, shortly before her departure, she got caught in a spectacular fight on live TV with conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck that started over the Iraq War, but quickly turned personal -- and went viral.
"The day it happened, I was definitely crying," O'Donnell recalls. "I got my stuff and walked out." She phoned her longtime publicist, Cindi Berger, telling her: "'I'm never going back. You have to call and tell them. Call the lawyer. No matter what they say, I will not go back."