As The View revamps itself after the retirement of Barbara Walters and the exits of Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd, former host Rosie O’Donnell will likely be making a dramatic return to the series.
The outspoken comedian and actress, 52, moderated the program from 2006 to 2007, before leaving after a heated argument with former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck in 2007. Now, O’Donnell is in talks to return to the show, PEOPLE has learned, and has been in talks with producers for the last 6 months. O’Donnell will join current host Whoopi Goldberg, and the show will reportedly be making two more hires.
Former host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, now a co-host on Fox & Friends, said it was clear that O’Donnell remained a force on the show from her involvement in Walters’s final show, where the broadcast legend was feted by her star peers.
“I do believe this has been in the works for a long, long time,” Hasselbeck said on air Wednesday.
“She walked around with a lot of control. And then when I had the chance to talk to her, Rosie herself told me, on set while we were mic-ed up, that she produced the reunion show to have everybody together and that it was her idea,” Hasselbeck said. “Now, do you think the woman who left the way that she did would be producing Barbara’s goodbye show? Here’s the shocker, it was actually her ‘Hello Show.’ ”
A rep for ABC, however, refused to confirm to PEOPLE that any casting decisions had been made for The View.
“As we have said previously, The View will be moving in an exciting new direction next season and ABC has made decisions to evolve the show creatively but at this time,” the rep said in a statement to PEOPLE, “we have no announcement to make and we are weeks away from making any type of announcement about anything pertaining to the show.”
• With reporting by LYNETTE RICE and EMILY STROHM