The ABC News report, after the jump ...
Rosie O'Donnell will not be returning to "The View."
In a statement today, the President of Disney-ABC's Daytime Television Group, Brian Frons, said, "We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave. Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well."
Barbara Walters, the show's creator and co-executive producer, said "I brought Rosie to the show. Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at "The View." I am most appreciative. Our close and affectionate relationship will not change."
In her statement, O'Donnell said, "I'm extremely grateful. It's been an amazing year and I love all three women."
And on her Web site Thursday, O'Donnell wrote: "When painting there is a point u must step away from the canvas as the work is done."
O'Donnell announced at the end of April she was leaving "The View," and her last day was supposed to be June 20.
The Final Straw?
O'Donnell and Hasselbeck have repeatedly gotten into heated political discussions on "The View." And more than once the two appeared to reconcile. Almost a month ago O'Donnell wrote on her blog, "on the view u have seen my last hasselbeck spat 2 day was it no more -- its done."
But fans of the talk show got more than the usual chat and gossip Wednesday when a long-running Iraq war debate between O'Donnell and Hasselbeck erupted into a verbal sparring match. It quickly turned personal, sparking a larger debate about what Americans can and cannot say about the war.
Wednesday's debate was the culmination of a fight that started on "The View" last week, when O'Donnell said, "655,000 Iraqi civilians have died. Who are the terrorists?"
Conservative critics said O'Donnell was calling U.S. troops terrorists. Wednesday, Hasselbeck said O'Donnell should clarify her statement.
"I asked you if you believed what the Republican pundits were saying," O'Donnell said to Hasselbeck.
"Did I say yes?" Hasselbeck replied.
"You said nothing and that's cowardly," O'Donnell shot back.
"No, no, no. Do not call me a coward because I sit here every single day, open my heart and tell people exactly what I believe," Hasselbeck shouted.
"So do I," retorted O'Donnell.
Keep Your Frenemies Close
After her co-hosts did some cooling off, Barbara Walters, the show's creator and co-executive producer, declared peace and shot down any speculation that the argument was fabricated for ratings.
"Welcome to 'The View' & so Aunt Barbara is back and there will be peace in the kingdom," Walters said in an exclusive statement to ABC News Thursday. "Rosie O'Donnell is off today: It is her partner Kelly's birthday, so Rosie asked to have the day off."
"It's a hot weekend, so everybody can cool off," Walters continued. "And for those who think, let us say, the interesting day, was planned for ratings -- that's just absurd. The highest ratings we've had for 'The View' this whole year were in February, when there were no feuds."
In Wednesday's exchange, there were no threats of violence, but both hosts seemed on the verge of tears, and the audience seemed incredibly uncomfortable.
"Every time I defend them, Elisabeth, it's poor little Elisabeth that I'm picking on," O'Donnell said.
"You know what? Poor little Elisabeth is not poor little Elisabeth," Hasselbeck shot back.
"That's right. That's why I'm not going to fight with you anymore because it's absurd," O'Donnell said as the debate wound down. Co-host Joy Behar called for a commercial break and the audience broke into applause.
O'Donnell's future in TV is uncertain. On the day she officially announced she was leaving "The View," she said she would return for future projects. "I'm not going away. I'm just not going to be here every day," said O'Donnell.
But recent events on the show imply she's over it.
On her Web site today, Rosie has a collage video scrapbook of sorts, of pictures and memories from her experiences on "The View." It's played to the tune of Cyndi Lauper's "Sisters of Avalon."
Lauper sings, "And a distant drum rumbling under ground gently guides me on..."
O'Donnell has been guided on...on from "The View."