Rosie O’Donnell’s nightly talk show on OWN has undergone a near-complete redo as she continues to search for a formula that will catch on with viewers.
Rosie’s show — titled “The Rosie Show” (and airing weekdays at 7 p.m./6c) — has struggled in the ratings since making its high-profile debut last October as part of a rejuvenated new lineup on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
As a result, the show has jettisoned staffers, moved into a different studio, and done away with its studio audience, reports a local Chicago business paper, Crain’s Chicago Business.
According to the Crain’s story here, Rosie has moved out of the Harpo studio in Chicago where Oprah’s own legendary daytime talk show once originated. That studio was large enough for a studio audience, but now, Rosie has moved into a smaller space at Harpo that does not accommodate spectators.
In addition, she has now adopted an “all-interview” format in which she sits across a desk from a single guest for the entire hour of the show. Previously, she started each show with a late-night-style monologue and even had a house band.
Earlier this month, she explained the change on her show. In her statement, she surprisingly admitted that, basically, she’s not comfortable playing the role of “standup comedian” anymore. “It’s much better for me,” she said of the new format. “I loved doing the other show with the audience, but truthfully, I’m 49 years old — when I did my old [daytime] show I was 33, maybe 34, and I had just come off of 15 years of doing stand-up. I’m out of practice and it also doesn’t feel real for who I am today. Who I am today is not just a comic, right? I’ve got a lot of other interests. I want to have real conversations. I don’t want to perform or present, I just want to talk.”
Our take: This new format, in which Rosie is suddenly styling herself as OWN’s Larry King, is so abrupt that we can only conclude that her show is in big trouble. Not that we have anything against Rosie, but when she says she’s “out of practice,” we can’t help but think, “Hey, Rosie, so why don’t you start practicing?” Time will tell if viewers will warm up to the non-comedic Rosie O’Donnell.