…It was after O’Donnell finished her last show in early February that she received what an O’Donnell ally calls a “vicious and heinous” e-mail from Shepard-Brookman. The producer denied leaking to the press, and then, according to people who have seen the e-mail, went on to tell O’Donnell that if she had leaked anything to the press it would have been a litany of transgressions by O’Donnell. Shepard-Brookman was suspended, and two weeks later, she was fired. The e-mail, her supporters suggest, was used as a foil by ABC to finally get rid of the most senior member of the old guard at the show. ABC denies this. “You could have read the e-mail as a threat,” says one ABC executive, who says it was “totally unprofessional.” “Well,” says a high-level show insider, “it may have been unprofessional, but it wasn’t untrue.”

Shepard-Brookman’s attorney would not comment.

In the months since O’Donnell has gone, a head-spinning number of women have appeared on The View, many of them auditioning for her seat: the actress Raven-Symoné from Empire; the model and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi; the comedian Cristela Alonzo, the star of the ABC sitcom Cristela; the blogger and daughter of Arnold, Katherine Schwarzenegger; Martha Stewart; and Samantha Ponder, an ESPN correspondent. There has been talk about Joy Behar returning to the show. “Getting rid of Joy was a mistake,” says one senior executive. Even Monica Lewinksy’s name has been bandied about in the press as a possibility, although network executives say she is not on the list. The biggest challenge has been getting the chemistry right, and the balance of humor and debate…(read more)

What is going to happen? Is the White House going to get involved?

Vanity Fair


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