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October 8, 2015

Rosie O'Donnell Returns to TV -- and the Forecast Isn't Good

by Stephanie Earp, posted Oct 11th 2011 1:30PM

I hear Rosie O'Donnell has leagues of devoted fans, but I've never met one. I hope for Oprah Winfrey's sake that she asked her staff to produce evidence of these throngs of Rosie-lovers before she gave Rosie five live hours per week on her network.

Me, I never had very strong feelings about O'Donnell, at least not while she was enjoying her reign as the Queen of Nice. I admit I enjoyed the schadenfreude of her unmasking as not-that-nice, not-that-beloved and definitely not-that-into Tom Cruise, but the truth is I didn't pay her much attention. It was only in researching her recent history that I discovered just how many accusations of breach of contract and unprofessional behavior she leaves in her wake as she joins the OWN team.

She clearly has issues with committing to a project (or a relationship for that matter) and has a gift for sticking her foot in her mouth. I also suffer from a pathological case of foot-in-mouth disease, so she has my sympathy. But she'll never have me as a viewer. For one thing, 'The Rosie Show' airs in a time slot that splits the difference between daytime and late night, with a 7PM ET slot on OWN and Discovery. I'm guessing a lot of the households harboring the Rosie fans we always hear about are also households where 6 - 8PM is family time -- devoted to dinner, homework and after school programs. The idea seems to be 'Ellen' in the evening; you'll recognize the game show elements from DeGeneres' show, but Rosie has none of Ellen's easygoing attitude.

All those career disasters have made O'Donnell kind of uptight and self-conscious. You know those people who make jokes at their own expense, who are so obviously awesome and cool that you never ever think for a minute that the real point of the joke is that you are supposed to reassure them that they are not fat, dumb, broke, ugly or whatever? Yeah, Rosie is not one of them. She's trying for the lighthearted approach that serves Ellen so well, but we all know the truth about Rosie now -- she is not light and easy, she is not well-adjusted, she can't let anything roll off her back. She has an opinion about everything, from big issues like the Iraq war, LGBT rights, gay marriage and abuse in the Catholic church to things that are really none of her business and outside her area of expertise -- like the Miss USA pageant, and most recently the story lines on 'Glee.'

I'm amazed Rosie is even watching 'Glee,' a show that is clearly on now, in 2011, because she's pretty out of touch otherwise. It really showed in her opening monologue, where she spent a few minutes making cracks about Spanx, a product whose time in the comedy limelight peaked about eleven years ago, when Oprah endorsed the company. (I can't help but wonder if Oprah asked Rosie to include the brand in her opening bit. Is that possible? Am I being too cynical?)

She also gave a fair amount of airtime over to what I'm sure is a very good impression of Penny Marshall. Marshall, though a venerable and admirable woman of great talent, has not actually appeared regularly on TV or film since the mid '80s. Most people have absolutely no idea what she sounds like when she talks -- a fact that was evident from the lack of laughs from the crowd.

If the show was taped, the way most daytime shows are, some of the really glaringly bad moments could have been edited or rewritten and re-shot, but guess who hates to do a taped show? The woman who had to apologize for imitating Chinese newscasters using the words 'ching chong' on 'The View.' Yes, Rosie lobbied for a live show and won. I wonder if Oprah has stress dreams about that decision.

In interviews, O'Donnell has insisted she feels no pressure in this new job, but that may be just another example of Rosie's ability to ignore reality. OWN is not working out the way Oprah and her partners at Discovery hoped. The ratings are pretty much a disaster, as the network actually brings in fewer eyeballs than the network it replaced, Discovery Health. That's bad enough, but think about the fact that OWN spends four times as much on programming compared to Discovery Health, which means many many millions are on the line.

Can you imagine having millions of dollars riding on Rosie O'Donnell? The thought makes me shudder.

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Did you know The Rosie Show announces a Facebook Fan of the Week? You can follow the journal of the fan on The Official "The Rosie Show" Fan of the Week Facebook Page:

November 09 2011 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really love Rosie, whats not to like, but as far as filling Oprah's shoes not so much.
The show's just not what I expected. It's a smaller version of a Late Night Talk show
with a smaller budget. I guess I'm just used to Oprah's show's with worthwhile topics
celebs, and audience particpation. Most of Rosie's shots of the audience is the back of their
heads. I really think it wont last. I guess Oprah has spoiled me over the years. And I'm surprisd
she's backing this kind of show. I may be wrong, but I probably wont watch longer. I can't put my finger on it,
but something about the show just doesn't appeal to me. Sorry !!

October 13 2011 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is this really an opinion or a just a cry for attention?

October 12 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D G McCauley

Well sorry to say but I think you are the one out of touch. Obviously you never listened to Rosie's radio show on Sirius as she ALWAYS was talking about Glee and it is a show right up her alley. She has always been a fan of Broadway and musicals so Glee is a perfect fit for her. As far as her opinions...personally I like to see that people have opinions in showbiz...that they are not vapid wastes of space. I don't always agree with her but I will always champion her right and anyones right to express it...its called freedom of speech Stephanie

October 12 2011 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rdac Lewis

Its not about the show for me, I am just not a Rosie fan.Rosannes new show holds no interest for me either and years ago I was a fan but I just believe when your time is up for rekindling fame, write a book, do a tour to help others. I cant see this going far unless the guests are main stream and the only way they will come out is with a plea from Oprah. Best O' luck!

October 12 2011 at 8:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like Rosie,she pulls no punches,is honest and upfront,and I will be watching.Always a fan

October 12 2011 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think you are a little hard on Rosie, Fat & Ugly people need to be represented on TV too.
they need people like Rosie to tell them, that its OK to be Fat, Ugly and Lazy.
that they are victims of unfair discrimination from the general public.
its our fault that when we look at them we feel disgusted and want to puke.

terrorist recruiters show their followers pictures of big fat ugly Americans.
after seeing these pictures radical Arabs conclude that the there is no humanity left in American.
Just ungodly monsters that must be destroyed.

So thanks Rosie & Oprah for the coming Jihad.

October 11 2011 at 8:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Bitter party of one????? Sheesh....tell us how you really feel!!

October 11 2011 at 7:40 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Rosie Odonald isn't worth discussing

October 11 2011 at 7:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

What's the big deal? I know we're breaking new ground with a TV columnist comparing shows here; but, is it really that far off? If you take "Rosie" and compare its format, elements and tone to those of every other show on television, it most closely resembles "Ellen"- except for the fact that "Rosie" is broadcast in the evening. The only other difference (besides entertainment value) is the best-before date. Thirty minutes with OWN's programing and promos, and you'll know that this entire network is about "taking control of your life". It's targeting that part in all of us that feels lost and seeks self-confidence, and hopes to fill us up with plausible advice from marketable personalities. They could've taken a page out of their own books (they've all written at least one) and left O'Donnell off the team. She seems to have gotten her life back together- why tempt fate? Besides, it's just not that entertaining.

October 11 2011 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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