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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 04/25/2007

A Very Special Goodbye: TV Exits

By Liz Kelly

Parting is such sweet sorrow, yet this ever-changing world in which we live in demands that we learn to say goodbye to our real friends -- the ones who turn out for us every week on TV -- far too often. With the explosion of reality TV shows, we are traumatized weekly by abrupt adieus. We hardly had time to clear a corner of our crowded hearts for adorable pixie Sanjaya Malakar before he was brutally excised from "American Idol" and condemned to the wraith-like fate of other reality show also-rans. All that remains is his name (which has taken on a Borat-like shorthand meaning "nerdy, gawky, fearless teen, a bit cooler than Napoleon Dynamite, but not so hip as to alienate grandparents") and a reputation as "the guy with the hair."


Heather Mills and 'Dancing' partner Jonathan Roberts. (AP)

Last night it was Heather Mills -- the woman who defied generations of Beatle-worship to lob accusations of abuse at Paul McCartney and lately crossed the pond armed only with a false leg to take on the best and brightest of America's D-list in a weekly dance-off. Last night, Mills came prepared for the worst with a farewell speech handily stashed in her bra; she thanked partner Jonathan Roberts and the show's crew for their part in the competition. All too soon, Mills will fade from our Yank psyche, only to reemerge in sporadic reports about her divorce from Sir Paul. She will forever be remembered as "the one with the fake leg and the racy pix."

Even curmudgeonly old fix-it show hosts aren't immune from the pixelated grim reaper. CBS has unceremoniously dumped Bob Vila's home improvement show, citing some kind of nonsense about "bad ratings." (For those of you born after 1979, think of Vila as a non-hot, non-young Ty Pennington) who can probably claim much credit for birthing the DIY home improvement show genre. Vila's strength was his take-no-prisoners approach to project management which taught me at an early age that being a know-it-all jerk can take you pretty far in this world (certainly much further than that block of wood Norm Abram). Shockingly, Vila will forever be remembered as "the guy with the beard."

And, as was announced this morning, Rosie O'Donnell plans to exit "The View" in June -- leaving the coffee klatch leaning dangerously in the direction of ultra-right wing Barbie Doll Elizabeth Hasselbeck. O'Donnell's storied feuds -- with Donald Trump, Kelly Ripa, Hasselbeck and pretty much anyone else in sight -- made for some surreal daytime TV. Luckily, she'll forever be remembered -- and accessible -- as "the one with the wacky blog."

The vacuum left by Sanjaya, Heather, Bob and Rosie will be filled, and quickly. But how long will it be, I ask you, until we are asked to say goodbye again? Next week? Cool.

By Liz Kelly  | April 25, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  TV  
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