Rosie O’Donnell’s Disastrous Oprah Winfrey Network Experience - The

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John Kringas OWN via AP

Ramin Setoodeh
Ramin Setoodeh

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** Rosie O’Donnell’s Disastrous Oprah Winfrey Network Experience **

Rosie O’Donnell signed a multimillion-dollar deal with OWN for a talk
show that was supposed to save Oprah’s failing network. Instead, it
tanked. Ramin Setoodeh talked with staffers about what went wrong.

The St. Patrick’s Day episode of /The Rosie Show/ on Friday opened with
an unknown tenor crooning the hymn “Ireland (I’m Coming Home).”
Sitting behind her desk in a small, audience-free studio, Rosie O’Donnell
blabbed about how much she loved Chicago, her place of residence, and how
she wore a coat for only two days this winter. She pontificated about her
upcoming 50th birthday next week. She said that when she was born, her
parents considered naming her after the season. “Spring O’Donnell,”
she said with a chuckle. “It doesn’t really flow.”

The episode trudged along, rather inconspicuously, with the first guest:
the tattoo artist, former reality star, and ex-fiancée of Jesse James, Kat
Von D. The Rosie we all knew and loved—the one who built a $100 million
empire with her landmark talk show that ran for 1,193 episodes from 1996 to
2002—was virtually absent, replaced by a subdued and checked-out host.
“Um … so … you’ve been in the limelight, had a public romance?”
O’Donnell asked. “I thought that was the first famous guy you went out
with,” she said, not even mentioning James by name. Since the episode was
pretaped, it


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