Star Jones and Falling Shoes
"We didn't expect her to make this statement yesterday," Barbara Walters said on Wednesday. "She gave us no warning and we were taken by surprise. But the truth is that Star has known for months that ABC did not want to renew her contract and that she would not be asked back in the fall."
On Wednesday, Reynolds added fuel to the current fire when she called in to a Los Angeles radio show and spoke to Ryan Seacrest.
"I was told yesterday that they did not want me to return today," Reynolds said on the radio.
"So you're not going on today?" Seacrest asked.
"Nope, not at all," Reynolds replied. "I was told yesterday was my last day."
Despite the controversy, Walters offered a word of thanks to Jones.
"'The View' helped make Star a star and Star helped make 'The View' the success that it is," Walters said. "We will never forget that. We wish her well in this new chapter of her life as we begin a new chapter on "The View."
The show's other hosts have remained mum so far, as speculation begins over who might replace Reynolds and Meredith Viera, who left recently to prepare for her new job as co-host of NBC's "Today Show."
Update: Star Jones is really leaving The View...in July!
"The View" co-host Star Jones Reynolds said on Tuesday she is leaving the daytime chat show in July, no doubt disappointing fans who hoped to see sparks fly when Rosie O'Donnell joins the program this fall.
But the congenial tone of the on-air announcement, with Jones Reynolds trading warm words with co-cost and executive producer Barbara Walters, glossed over behind-the-scenes friction leading to her widely expected departure.
"I feel like I was fired," she said in an interview with People magazine, adding that she was told her contract would not be renewed just days before media reports first surfaced this spring that O'Donnell -- one of her most vocal critics -- was joining "The View."
Jones Reynolds, 44, seemed to take her fellow co-hosts by surprise when she interrupted Tuesday's broadcast to confirm media reports that she was leaving after nine years on the ABC show with Walters, Joy Behar and Meredith Vieira.
"After much prayer and counsel I feel like this is the right time to tell you that the show is moving in another direction for its 10th season, and I will not be returning as co-host next year," she said on the air.
"That's shocking to me," Behar said as the studio audience gasped and Jones Reynolds clasped hands with her colleagues.
Thanking Walters "for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime," Jones Reynolds concluded: "I'm not sure what the future holds, but I'm absolutely sure who holds the future."
After a standing ovation from the audience, Walters, too, said Tuesday's announcement was unexpected, adding: "It is my joy that we have had you for nine years, and my sadness that it has turned out this way."
The gracious exchange concealed off-camera theatrics preceding "The View's" latest casting change.
Either way, the "help wanted" sign is up again at the show, months after it was announced that Rosie O'Donnell was replacing Meredith Vieira as a cast member in the fall.
Reynolds' exit had been rumored for months, intensifying Tuesday after reports on "Access Hollywood" and in the New York tabloids that an announcement would be coming soon.
Still, Walters said she was taken by complete surprise when Reynolds announced her departure after the first commercial break on Tuesday. The announcement had been planned for Thursday, she said.
"I love Star and I was trying to do everything I possibly could â€” up until this morning when I was betrayed â€” to protect her," Walters told The Associated Press.
Walters also said she wasn't aware until she got off the air of Reynolds' People magazine interview. Reynolds, one of the original cast members when the show started nine years ago, said: "I feel like I was fired."
That seems to be the case. Walters said ABC network chiefs had decided last fall not to renew Reynolds' contract because its research showed that Reynolds' dramatic weight loss and 2004 wedding to banker Al Reynolds had turned off viewers. Reynolds had been criticized for a Web site that promoted companies that donated items for the wedding party's gift bags.
"We tried to talk them out of it," Walters said, "and we tried to give Star time to redeem herself in the eyes of the audience, and the research just kept getting worse."
Reynolds' spokesman, Brad Zeifman, said the announcement had always been planned for this week. Because of all the speculation, Reynolds was compelled to tell viewers, he said.
He said he finds the notion that viewers were turned off by talk of her wedding "surprising," given that some of the top-rated shows in 2004 were related to her wedding and engagement. Reynolds' recent book in which she discussed her weight loss was a best-seller, he said.
Walters said Reynolds had known for several months that she would not be coming back, before Vieira's announcement in April that she was leaving.
"I would have loved for Star to have left and not said 'I was fired,' and not make it look like the program was somehow being cruel to her," she said.
O'Donnell's hiring had nothing to do with the decision, she said. That April announcement had led to widespread speculation over whether O'Donnell and Reynolds could co-exist. O'Donnell had made several caustic remarks about Reynolds, saying that it was dishonest for her to talk about losing more than 100 pounds through diet and exercise without talking about gastric bypass surgery.
On the show Tuesday, Reynolds told the audience that "The View" had decided to move in a new direction.
"I'm not sure what the future holds," she said. "But I'm absolutely sure who holds the future."
Comic Joy Behar looked like she was shocked.
"Who am I going to fight with?" Behar said.
Reynolds replied: "Something tells me you will have somebody to fight with."
300 East 90th Streeton the Upper East Side, the apartment has two bedrooms and a full bathroom on the first floor; a living room, dining room with fireplace, kitchen, powder room and a master bedroom suite with dressing room on the second floor; and a â€œpartyâ€ room or extra bedroom on the third floor.
Rumor has it also that she and her "very manly" husband are headed for divorce court. I am not too sure about him. Something is not quite right with him. Are not all rumors based in some truth? So those rumors about him being gay had to stem from something. I do not think I could ever marry anyone with that sort of question/rumour/doubt swirling over his head.
The New York News
The official word from the couple is that all is well. But another source says they could be close to splitting, with Star considering a divorce lawyer.
The couple has been under scrutiny since their November 2004 wedding, which made headlines for the freebies they solicited from sponsors. And stories that Reynolds dated men before walking down the aisle led many to question whether it was a match made in heaven.
Jones' future as a co-host of "The View" also looks less than secure, especially since her nemesis Rosie O'Donnell was announced as a replacement for Meredith Vieira. Star was absent from her chair Friday, and "View:-eurs are noticing that she has been mentioning Al less on-air lately.
ONES GETTING ' VIEW' VAMOOSE STAR Jones Reynolds has been told to hitch up her hefty wagonload of freebies and waddle off into the sunset, sources say.
ABC will announce this week that the big-boned talking head is out at "The View," a source close to the inner workings of the late-morning gabfest tells Page Six. What network brass won't say is that she's being unceremoniously ousted at the direct behest of the show's grand dame Barbara Walters and the incoming Rosie O'Donnell.
"It was always Rosie's condition of joining the show, and Barbara agreed to those conditions from the outset," our source said. The network and Jones are now concocting a face-saving scenario in which Jones will be touted as moving on to pursue important new projects.
Jones' camp yesterday denied the blustery babbler is going anywhere. "It's 100 percent not true. Where are you hearing this?" a rep for Jones said. A "View" flack echoed that. But those denials come on the heels of reports that Oprah Winfrey's best friend, Gayle King, may be in line to take over Jones' chair on the kitschy coffee klatch.
And while publicly, the show says Jones is "welcome" to remain on "The View" as long as she wants, insiders confirmed late last week that her agents are quietly shopping around for a new job for her.
Her new book can be purchased here at this link.
What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!