Programming

OWN Grabs Rosie O'Donnell Talk Show

New talker to launch exclusive on cable in 2011 8/05/2010 06:49:51 PM Eastern

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network has exclusively acquired Rosie O'Donnell's new daytime talk show to premiere in 2011.

O'Donnell's return to daytime was announced early this year, with former Warner Bros.' honchos Dick Robertson and Scott Carlin, now partners in a company called SantaBu LLC, shopping the deal.

The one-hour show had been shopped to both TV stations and cable networks on a cash-plus or all-barter basis. NBC Universal had been rumored to be interested in picking up the show for its stations, but a deal was never brokered. Many stations executives said they were concerned that O'Donnell did not have a good track record, having abruptly departed both from her former Warner Bros. talk show, and ABC's The View, on which she was a panelist for one season.

In the past few months, talk about O'Donnell premiering in broadcast syndication practically disappeared, and many executives speculated that the show would end up on cable, considered to be a good fit for the outspoken O'Donnell.

O'Donnell appeared on CBS Television Distribution's Oprah last season and helped the show to high ratings for the day, something that Carlin and Robertson used as one of the show's selling points. O'Donnell also aims to be aspirational in her new talk show, which fits OWN's brand.

O'Donnell hosted a highly successful talk show distributed by Warner Bros. from 1996 to 2002, for which the show won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show each year it was on the air. In 2006, O'Donnell returned to daytime to replace Meredith Vieira on The View. That year, the show improved in the ratings by 27% and was the fourth-watched daytime show among women 18-49.

She currently hosts a daily two-hour radio show on Sirius XM Radio.

Part of O'Donnell's motivation to return to TV is to help her fund her charitable ambitions. She has a charitable organization called Rosie's Theater Kids, which offers education enrichment to underserved kids.

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