O'Donnell will co-host the show's 18th season while Whoopi Goldberg will stay on as moderator

By Lynette Rice
July 10, 2014 01:15 PM

Surprise, surprise. With reports about her return to The View heating up this week, ABC has made it official: Rosie O’Donnell will be returning to the ABC talk show as a co-host this fall.

ABC made the announcement via Twitter Thursday morning, ending days of feverish speculation about who would become the first replacement for the retired Barbara Walters, as well as the outgoing Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd.

O’Donnell’s return is a vindication, of sorts, for the 52-year-old comedian – who left the ABC show after a heated argument with former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck in 2007.

Her outspoken, liberal views have already spawned speculation that the talk show will find a (relatively) conservative counterpart to fill the Hasselback role. Meghan McCain – the daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain – is expected to return as a guest host on Monday and has already been reported as a possible replacement. ABC has yet to comment on any potential candidates, as well as rumors that it would consider male hosts.

But on Thursday’s show, moderator Whoopi Goldberg, who will be the only returning cast member this fall, addressed recent speculation about who will eventually join her on The View.

“The respect that I have for the people who work here will not change. I will do my best to make sure we bring you that Barbara Walters wanted you to have, which is women discussing issues,” she said. “We are not little kids. We are grown-ass women.”

Goldberg also addressed speculation that some possible combinations of co-hosts may clash with one another. “I’m tired of people saying, ‘If this one comes in. If this one comes in.’ I don’t argue with people,” she said. “We have spirited discussions.”