Four months ago, Rosie O’Donnell, who hosted the syndicated The Rosie O’Donnell Show and did a stint on ABC’s The View, teamed with syndication veterans Dick Robertson and Scott Carlin for a new syndicated daytime talk show. Now they have found a buyer, Oprah Winfrey’s upstart cable network OWN, a co-venture with Discovery Communications. Interesting move by Winfrey, who once competed with O’Donnell for the title of daytime talk show queen at the height of The Rosie O’Donnell Show in the late 1990s.
O’Donnell is a polarizing figure with strong political views and aggressive style who had previously indicated that she planned to stay true to herself on her new show. So giving her a daily talker on OWN, a network built on the premise of inspiring women and helping them better their lives, is somewhat surprising. But the description of the new show supplied by OWN seems to indicate that there will be more of the 1990s “queen of nice” bubbly persona than the darker, more controversial O’Donnell we’ve seen in the final stage of her daytime talk show, on The View as well as on her radio show on Sirius XM.
“Fans can anticipate a fun, uplifting show with Ms. O’Donnell’s playful and energetic style,” OWN said of the hourlong daily show, which will be based in New York. It is slated to premiere in 2011.
“Rosie is an undeniable talent who has captivated TV audiences for nearly 20 years,” said Oprah Winfrey. “She’s a true original, who brings her authentic voice, dynamic energy and pure passion to everything she does.”
“It’s an honor and a privilege to work with Oprah Winfrey on her network,” said Rosie O’Donnell. “I’m excited to be back on daytime television.”
O’Donnell earned six consecutive Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Talk Show Host during her years on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. In 2006, O’Donnell replaced Meredith Vieira as co-host of The View where she sparked a series of feuds with Donald Trump and co-hosts Elisabeth Hasslebeck and Barbara Walters, among others, which drew wide attention and helped the show spike in the ratings by 27%. Her stint there came to an abrupt end when she couldn’t come to an agreement on a new contract.