Oprah Winfrey, TV’s greatest hit-maker, is counting on Rosie O’Donnell to save her struggling cable network.
OWN -- which launched New Year’s Day to un-Oprah-like ratings -- has already burned through more than $150 million in start-up money without producing a single hit show.
“There is pressure,” says Debra Birnbaum, editor-in-chief of TV Guide magazine, “because clearly this is what OWN is putting all of its emphasis on for the new season.
“They have to figure out a way to get eyeballs to that network.”
Can the stand-up comic -- who will broadcast from Oprah’s old Chicago studio beginning in early October -- do for OWN what, say, “South Park” did for Comedy Central or “Queer Eye”for Bravo? ...
As a TV exec who used to work for her says, “Say whatever you want about her, Rosie makes money for people.”
It has been more than a decade since Rosie has been billed as the “Queen of Nice.”
Her controversial year as co-host of “The View” included a nasty public feud with real estate mogul Donald Trump, a spat with Bill O’Reilly over the war in Iraq and an on-air screaming match with one of her own co-hosts.
“She started with such a bang, and everybody loved her,” Birnbaum notes. “What people remember now are some of the angrier moments.”
O’Donnell has said little about her new show -- which will air weekdays at 7 p.m. But she has let on that it will be more “View” Rosie than “Nice” Rosie.
I think she means "Shrew" Rosie.
But this is the state of our celebrity culture today. There are so few bona fide talents to choose from anymore that Winfrey has to put most of her chips on a nasty, obnoxious pig who turned herself into a national punchline years ago. It's also true, however, that OWN doesn't need 25 million viewers to declare Rosie's show a hit. In the sliced-and-diced world of cable television, 1.5 million can be good enough.
The saddest part is that the remaining 298.5 million of us won't be able to escape Rosie. She'll do something obnoxious and piggish and helpful to the Left, the videos will go viral, and she'll have an impact because the mainstream media will choose to amplify her to satisfy their own partisan needs. This is what they do with "Saturday Night Live," Jon Stewart, the low-rated junk on MSNBC, and "The View."
This will be especially important to the left and the media (but I repeat myself) during the 2012 election. One more shameless celeb savaging our candidate(s) as racist/stupid/crazy sounds mighty good to them.