Rosie O'Donnell on Ellen's daytime TV exit: 'I don't think it was the 'be kind' thing that got her'
The onetime Queen of Nice is weighing in on the upcoming departure of the "be kind" lady from daytime TV.
Rosie O'Donnell, who got her nickname while hosting The Rosie O'Donnell Show from 1996 to 2002, stopped by The Jess Cagle Show on Sirius XM this week and discussed Ellen DeGeneres' recent decision to end her talk show in 2022, after 19 seasons.
As you might recall, DeGeneres' announcement came in May, as season 18 came to a close and after ratings began to take a hit following behind-the-scenes claims of workplace toxicity. DeGeneres had opened the season in fall 2020 with a monologue in which she said being known as the "be kind" lady was a "tricky position to be in," and joked that if anyone was thinking of renaming themselves as such, to not.
After O'Donnell shared her own experiences helming a show that saw her garner a similar title, she told Cagle that she saw DeGeneres' exit as being more involved than the "be kind" title coming back to haunt her.
"I don't think it was the 'be kind' thing that got her," O'Donnell said. "I think that's oversimplification. But it was a lot of things, and it was complicated, and I'm glad that she's, you know, going to be finished and she can get some time to herself."
O'Donnell suggested there's a weight that comes with being the sole person to front a popular show. "It's a huge kind of strange thing to be on a show like that, and have all that attention on you," she said. "And she had it for like 19 years. So, you know, it's a tough thing."
Cagle introduced the subject by asking O'Donnell if her Queen of Nice nickname caused similar problems.
"Not in the way that Ellen's talking about, I think," O'Donnell said. "But you know, I said the day it came out, 'Look at this, the Queen of Nice. And [in] a couple of years, it's going to be the Queen of Lice, the Queen of Fried Rice, you know, the Queen of We Don't Like Her Anymore.'"
O'Donnell, who also cohosted The View and later had her own radio show, added, "I have an understanding of the cycle of show business, and kind of what happens in people's careers, and when enough is enough. And oftentimes people don't know that. I think I have a good balance of both in my life — of the importance of both. And it's hard to maintain. It's hard to do, especially when you're doing a show like that."