O'Donnell moves up 'View' departure

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NEW YORK -- Days after an on-air blowup with co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck, ABC said Friday afternoon that Rosie O'Donnell would be leaving "The View" earlier than expected.

O'Donnell would no longer appear on the morning talkfest, Disney-ABC Daytime Television Group President Brian Frons confirmed. O'Donnell will appear on Monday's "The View" as it was a taped episode; Tuesday's live episode won't feature her.

"We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave," Frons said. "Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well."

The last days of O'Donnell's less than year-long run at "The View" were perhaps even more controversial than than earlier when she engaged in a public spat with Donald Trump over Miss USA Tara Conner. O'Donnell and Hasselbeck battled over the war in Iraq and whether O'Donnell was calling U.S. troops terrorists.

In a widely viewed clip available all over the Internet, O'Donnell and Hasselbeck were at it again earlier this week over whether Hasselbeck should have defended O'Donnell after conservative attacks on her. It ended with O'Donnell calling Hasselbeck "cowardly."

In announcing her departure from "The View" last month, O'Donnell and ABC couched it as not being able to come to terms on a contract. She said she would remain until June 20 and would appear from time to time next season.

"I brought Rosie to the show. Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at 'The View,'" Walters said in a statement on ABCNews.com. "I am most appreciative. Our close and affectionate relationship will not change."

O'Donnell's statement said she was extremely grateful: "It's been an amazing year and I love all three women."

Kimberly Nordyke in Los Angeles contributed to this story.
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