Months are left on Rosie O’Donnell’s deal with “The View,” but behind-the-scenes maneuvering has started.
Warner Bros. execs have been peddling the notion that O’Donnell could be lured to leave “The View” and return to syndication.
(A rep for Warner Bros. says the company doesn’t comment on speculation; sources close to O’Donnell’s insist she’s done syndication and has no desire to return.)
Still, WB, already in talks with O’Donnell for a semi-recurring role on “Nip Tuck,” believes the outspoken gabber could be persuaded.
O’Donnell left “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and a $30 million per year salary in 2002 with the show at or near its peak.
Yet the hurdles are many.
“The View” is a half-time job that gives O’Donnell summers off. She’s producing a film, “Stalking Barbara Streisand”; her family and charity endeavors are important to her.
Then there’s the fact that O’Donnell’s deal with ABC, which ends in June, contains a first-look clause with syndie arm Buena Vista, which would have to pass on any project for it to land at Warner.
Even more significantly, station execs say her on-camera persona is more compatible with feisty cable news than daytime syndication.
“If she wants to do a show where she can say what she wants to say, she will get pushback from local stations,” said one exec.
The speculation could, however, strengthen O’Donnell’s hand if and when she re-ups with “The View.” There is huge money in syndie, but O’Donnell might have trouble getting more than $7 million to $8 million a year at the outset, a salary that ABC could probably match.
Still, if Warner can convince even one major station group that O’Donnell is ready to take on Oprah, the lure could be more than she can resist.