Elisabeth Hasselbeck says she's started the process of forgiveness with O'Donnell

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 29, 2007 11:50 PM

( Video courtesy of ABC)

Rosie O’Donnell was not fired and she is welcome back on The View whenever she wants, Barbara Walters said at the outset of Tuesday’s show.

The announcement came during the first live broadcast of the ABC daytime chatfest since last Wednesday’s on-air clash between politically opposed O’Donnell, 45, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, 29. On Friday, ABC announced that Rosie would not return, leaving the program three weeks before her scheduled departure next month. On Sunday, O’Donnell posted on her blog that she is “not sorry” to be leaving.

Tuesday’s show – for which O’Donnell had been deleted from the opening credits – began with guest co-host Whoopi Goldberg asking Walters, “What’s new?” – to which Walters responded, “Have you been living under a rock?”

Walters then recapped the events of last week, blaming the Iraq War for being an emotional issue that exacerbated some already underlying tensions at the show. Walters also repeatedly expressed her admiration, affection and appreciation for O’Donnell and her contributions this past season. “We wanted her to stay,” Walters said of the behind-the-scenes negotiations.

Of O’Donnell’s being upset by the spilt screen that was used during the argument with Hasselbeck, Walters simply said that it was device that had been used previously.

Walters also said that she and O’Donnell had been e-mailing back and forth this entire past weekend, and that the correspondence was affectionate in tone.

This prompted Hasselbeck to speak up and say, “This weekend we were in communication a lot,” meaning herself and O’Donnell.

“This weekend,” Hasselbeck continued, “gave us the opportunity to tackle our most important hot topic yet, and that is the power of forgiveness. And I believe we’ve started that process that enable us to movie in a very positive way, so I am very happy about that.”

On her blog, however, O’Donnell said that she’d only exchanged a brief e-mail with Hasselbeck, and that the two would probably never speak again. “She called, and Kelli [Carpenter, O’Donnell’s partner] and her she spoke for a long time,” O’Donnell said in a video on her site. “I haven’t spoken to her and I probably won’t, and I think it’s just as well.”