February 22, 2002 01:00 AM

Thursday was not just any old day for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” There was a flasher in the crowd. The young woman, who was not identified, opened her blouse and exposed her breasts as the cameras swept the Rockefeller Center studio audience before going into a commercial break, reports New York’s Daily News and the Post. The show was on the air live in New York and about a dozen other markets across the country. (The incident was edited out before being aired in those markets where it is shown on tape.) O’Donnell, 39, who had been interviewing “Law & Order” star Mariska Hargitay at the time, said when the show came back after commercials, “We’ve been on the air six years and it’s never happened, but apparently a crazy woman in the audience flashed her boobs during the last audience shot . . . She is now with security, waiting to get into the ‘Montel’ show.” Explaining what happened to the New York Post, an O’Donnell spokesman said only, “It’s a live show.” This wasn’t the first time a face in the crowd became something more than just a face. In August of 2000, an unidentified woman surprised “Today” show viewers — and host Katie Couric, whose jaw dropped on-air — by opening her shirt and publicly baring her breasts. The flasher struck at about 8:30 a.m. as a camera panned a crowd of tourists and passers-by gathered outside the show’s Rockefeller Center studio.

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