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Exclusive: NBC Primetime Looking Rosie (O'Donnell)

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Forget the N-word. If you really want to see Elisabeth Hasselbeck cry,

try uttering the R-word — especially in this next context.

Multiple sources confirm to me exclusively that Hasselbeck’s former View

nemesis, Rosie O’Donnell, is in active talks with NBC to return to

television with her own weekly primetime variety show.

The news comes just as the Peacock is said to be courting exiting

Tonight Show host Jay Leno for a similar gig. It’s possible O’Donnell’s

series would be a fallback in case Leno defects to ABC after his

late-night reign ends next year (as many expect he will). NBC was unavailable for comment.

The possible NBC-O’Donnell hook-up is particularly ironic in light of

the fact that less than a year ago the network’s cable news arm, MSNBC,

was close to giving the Koosh Ball-lovin’ funny lady her own one-hour

showcase. But when word of the discussions leaked out before the ink

was dry, O’Donnell claimed the network “panicked” and the deal went

south.

O’Donnell’s rep declined to comment, but an insider with knowledge of

the Peacock negotiations tells me that NBC isn’t the only major network

making a play for the ex-View moderator. CBS is (or was) also said to

be interested in giving the ratings magnet her own series, but at this

point, NBC is said to have the upper hand.

My take: This is great news for O’Donnell, who’s getting the biggest

platform of her career, and NBC, which could certainly use some of her

ratings mojo. The average viewer also makes out pretty good, because

we’d (presumably) get O’Donnell doing what she does best: making us laugh.

Agree/disagree? Sound off below!

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