Jessica to Be Rosie's First Guest on 'The View'

Simpson repays O'Donnell for some long-ago encouragement

Jessica Simpson will appear on the first episode of The View to star new cohost Rosie O’Donnell, on Sept. 5, PEOPLE has learned.

“Rosie herself reached out to Jessica,” says a source close to Simpson about the singer-actress’s guest shot.

The two have a long history together, going back to The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which aired from 1996-2002, when O’Donnell was riding the crest as TV’s highly rated “Queen of Nice.”

“When Jessica was just starting out, none of the big shows were interested in her, but Rosie took a chance on her and Jessica never forgot it,” says the source.

It wasn’t just a break that O’Donnell provided, but encouragement.

“When Jessica was on The Rosie O’Donnell Show years ago,” the source went on to say, “Rosie went backstage afterwards and said, ‘You’re gonna be a star.’ ”

Adds the source: “Jessica will never forget her.”

The View appearance will just follow the release of Simpson’s new album, A Public Affair, which hits stores only a week before, on Aug. 29.

O’Donnell, of course, will be assuming Meredith Vieira’s former chair on the ABC daytime gabfest, while Vieira becomes the new cohost of NBC’s Today show.

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