After the Star Flameout, the Negatives Are Rising

The cast of
The cast of "The View" in happier times, earlier this year: From left, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones Reynolds, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Only the three on the right remain. (By Steve Fenn -- Associated Press)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, June 29, 2006

One day after "The View" executive producer Barbara Walters billed and cooed over departing co-host Star Jones Reynolds, she opened the show by sticking a shiv in Star's gullet.

While this is way better TV than that treacly send-off Babs gave her other departing co-host, Meredith Vieira, earlier this month, it's unclear how this advances Babs's carefully constructed image as the Mother Abbess of TV journalism.

"Then there were three," B-Wa said at the top of the show, in re the fact that the tacky kitchen table around which the gals cheep, cheep, cheep at the start of each show was noticeably Star-less, sporting merely the aforementioned B-Wa, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

"This is truthfully a very difficult day for us and it is a sad day for us," B-Wa continued, her Sad Face now firmly screwed in place.

Difficult and sad because the day before, Star had upstaged what we're certain would have been a riveting Babs-led discussion on air conditioning to announce she was leaving the show on which she had vamped for nine years.

Upstaging B-Wa is a serious crime, and here's how she executed Star yesterday morning:

"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," she told her studio audience in marked contrast to what she'd said 24 hours earlier about how important Star had been to the launch of the ABC daytime series.

(That's because, B-Wa had told the New York Times the day before, ABC's research showed that Star's "negatives were rising" and "the audience was losing trust in her. They didn't believe some of the things she said.")

Speaking of rising negatives and not believing some of the things a woman has said, B-Wa had been telling her fellow journalists for months that there was no truth to the rumor Star was being dropped from the show. In early May, while in Washington for a "coming out" dinner for Saudi Arabia's new ambassador, The Post's Reliable Source column said she told them that Star Jones was not being dropped from "The View." A couple of weeks earlier the New York Times quoted her as saying, "If Star wants to continue to be [on 'The View'], she is welcome."

These days, B-Wa explains she told those little white misinformations to "protect Star."

Back to yesterday's execution, where B-Wa was explaining to her studio audience that they have grown to dislike and mistrust Star, according to ABC research.

"But we were never going to say this. We wanted to protect Star," B-Wa said.


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