Rosie demand to move show to NYC last straw?
By MICHAEL STARR
Last Updated: 11:53 AM, March 9, 2012
Rosie O’Donnell’s TV history is repeating itself — and, as in the past, it’s getting ugly.
O’Donnell’s talk show, “The Rosie Show,” is imploding just five months after launching on Oprah Winfrey’s little-watched OWN cable network.
Not only is “The Rosie Show” a ratings disaster — it averaged just 150,000 viewers last week — but O’Donnell is selling her $2.5 million mansion in Chicago, where the show tapes, and reportedly wants to move the production to New York. That would leave producer Harpo with empty, expensive, unused studio space it might not want to surrender so easily.
“She’s doing a show in Chicago,” O’Donnell’s rep told The Chicago Tribune when asked about the sale of Rosie’s house.
Adding fuel to the fire are reports in the Chicago media that “The Rosie Show” is plagued by a lack of focus, a cranky, erratic, disinterested host and a backstage power struggle between Team Rosie and Winfrey loyalists who worked on the now-defunct “Oprah” and are at odds with O’Donnell.
It now seems that what’s worked for O’Donnell in the past isn’t working anymore.
Always controversial, she generated solid ratings on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” and ratings spiked when she joined “The View” in 2006 for one stormy season, clashing repeatedly with Elisabeth Hasselbeck and turning the morning show into appointment television.
O’Donnell pledged to tone it down when Winfrey hired her as the friendly face of OWN — and as a lead-in for Winfrey’s showcase, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which is also flailing — but whatever feel-good vibes were there in the beginning have apparently evaporated along with O’Donnell’s numbers.
After a decent first week in the ratings, “The Rosie Show” has trended steadily downward (it’s averaged 234,000 viewers through Feb. 27, according to Nielsen data).
O’Donnell’s attempts to shake things up — shifting from a variety format to one-on-one interviews, and moving from the hallowed “Oprah” studio to a smaller, adjacent space sans audience — haven’t worked so far.
(O’Donnell, by the way, is under contract through 2013.)
And a Chicago Tribune report published Wednesday indicates the problems run deeper than poor ratings.
The report cites “trust” as one issue. For instance, O’Donnell didn’t tell her own producers that she wants to move the show to New York. They learned of her intentions only when she was talking to a guest during a commercial break, according to the report — which also noted that O’Donnell has hired an LA-based booker to help lure big-name guests to her Chicago studio.
The report also states that staffers have been left in the dark concerning format changes and the direction of the show — and that up to 30 people lost their jobs when the show changed its format in January.
“As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on rumor and speculation,” Harpo said in a statement.
Read more: Rosie O'Donnell's talk show 'The Rosie Show' is imploding after launching on OWN - NYPOST.com