On March 22nd, Rosie O’Donnell announced plans for a forthcoming talk show to be marketed as a replacement for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which stops airing in September 2011.
In a statement Rosie’s producers, Dick Robertson and Scott Carlin, reminded braodcasting industry professionals of the high ratings that O’Donnell’s first show, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” which aired from 1996 to 2002, garnered and asserted that any new proposed syndicated show hosted by Rosie would “wind up in the Oprah time period in a lot of cities.”
“This is a once-in-25-years opportunity,” Rosie producer Dick Robertson contended. “There is this gaping hole starting in September of 2011 when Oprah goes away. Who better to fill it than Rosie?” Rosie’s publicist issued a related statement from Rosie in which O’Donnell said that she hoped “to build on what Oprah began and excelled at for 25 years, in my own style and with new adaptations and ideas.”
Some industry analysts have suggested that O’Donnell, who has been open about her liberal views, may be too divisive for daytime TV. In response, Robertson and Carlin said that they did not envision a politically themed program for Rosie.
“She’s going to do a big, commercial, fun, uplifting show. What she did on ‘The View’ has absolutely nothing to do with this [planned] show.” Robertson said, alluding to Rosie’s stint on the Barbara Walters created vehicle “The View” three years ago, when she garnished much criticism for her bold rebukes of the Bush administration and its politics.
“When she played the role of provocateur on “The View,” he added, “they got a 30 percent bump in the ratings.”
The producers said that they were starting to set up meetings with stations immediately, their top message to stations being that Rosie is the best choice to launch a Monday-through-Friday talk show. “She was much bigger than anything on the air now, except for Oprah,” Robertson stated.