Rosie O’Donnell’s new daily talk show on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is looking to shake off lackluster ratings with a new executive producer and a new set. Shane Farley, who worked with O’Donnell on her previous Emmy-winning syndicated talker The Rosie O’Donnell Show has come on as executive producer. He replaces Page Hurwitz, who as executive producer oversaw The Rosie Show‘s launch and first three months on the air. Farley has more than 15 years of experience producing talk shows, most recently Rachael Ray. The Rosie Show kicked off 2012 with a new smaller and brightly colored set. It fits about 70 audience members, about a fifth of the original set, and is inspired by Rosie’s art studio at her home in New York. The radical downsizing does not allow for a band setup, though OWN said that “musical director Katreese Barnes will continue to be fully engaged behind the scenes, creating original music for the show, including digital shorts and musical parodies.” “Having worked with Shane for a number of years, I knew he’d be a great addition to the team as we continue to develop the vision for the show,” O’Donnell said.
The changes to the set were in part inspired by O’Donnell’s recent stint as a guest on Andy Cohen’s Bravo talk show Watch What Happens Live. “I loved the homey feel of his set and the intimacy of his smaller audience,” O’Donnell said. “I wanted to re-create that laid-back feeling, less about performing for a huge audience and more about having a one-on-one conversation.” The Rosie Show got off to a decent ratings start with 500,000 viewers tuning in to its its debut. But its audience has shrunk and now averages about 200,000 viewers. The set overhaul follows a series of smaller tweaks over the past couple of months, including the elimination of the mic stand and the Johnny Carson-style curtain for O’Donnell’s monologues, the phasing out of the game show element and the changing of the blue interview chairs. Also enlisted to help boost the show’s fortunes is one of Oprah’s top proteges, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who will be a guest on January 27-28.