Oprah Winfrey will always be remembered by TV critics for her infamous “filibuster” last January at the winter press tour, when she took the stage to discuss the launch of her network OWN. During her 50-minute session she managed to answer only seven questions (one of which lasted 25 minutes) as well as repeatedly deviate off topic. (See the story here: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/blog/BC_Beat/31921-The_Critics_Oprah_s_Most_Captive_Audience_Ever.php)
So once we saw Winfrey on the dais during the OWN portion of the summer press tour Friday, many couldn’t help but wonder what she was going to say and how long she was going to say it. But, as she began to speak it was evident there was a different tone. She quickly and efficiently gave an OWN status report and welcomed new network presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, former presidents of Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.
“I am [now] ready to dedicate my full creative energy and focus as the full time CEO of OWN,” Winfrey said. “In my new role [as CEO] I am focusing on the unity of Harpo and OWN, aligning them together.”
She quickly moved on to introduce Rosie O’Donnell, who was there to discuss her new OWN talk-variety program The Rosie Show, debuting Oct. 10.
The trailer for The Rosie Show was well-received with lots of laughter from the crowd. The laughter continued throughout O’Donnell’s Q&A session. She managed to come off with the right mix of self-deprication, honesty and humor. Her panel concluded with a rousing round of applause from the audience, something seldomly seen at press tour.
Here are some select Tweets from critics in the room:
Rosie’s in fine form today. If anything could have gotten me to watch her show, this would be it. If. #TCAs11
@HitFixDaniel, Daniel Fienberg, HitFix
Rosie riffing. I simply can’t type that fast. But trust me, it’s pretty good.
@Bastardmachine, Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter
Rosie O’Donnell wins for best panel of the tour so far #tcas11
@robmoynihan, Rob Moynihan, TV Guide
Rosie O’Donnell has been really, really warmly received here. She’s been funny and the right kind of surprising. Promising.
@Nprmonkeysee, NPR’s entertainment and pop-culture blog.
@nancyfranklin A non-event! Just when we thought she was going to filibuster, she simply introduced Rosie O’Donnell.
@KateAurthur, Kate Aurthur, The Daily Beast