On the tails of a $15 million media blitz to hype OWN’s new fall lineup, Oprah Winfrey’s network premiered two new offerings Monday night: Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, The Rosie Show, followed by Winfrey’s self-help series, Oprah’s Lifeclass. Despite this being the Oprah Winfrey Network, it was O’Donnell’s show—not Winfrey’s—that reeled in the most viewers.
At 8 p.m. on Monday, according to Reuters, 497,000 viewers tuned into see The Rosie Show with guest Russell Brand. But many of them picked up the remote at 9 p.m., leaving Oprah’s Lifeclass—a mix of older footage from The Oprah Winfrey Show and new introductions—with just 330,000 viewers.
Both shows also aired on five other Discovery-owned networks, including TLC, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery, and Discovery Fit + Health, giving The Rosie Show a combined audience of 1.5 million people, and Oprah’s Lifeclass an audience of 1.2 million.
OWN president Erik Logan said that the new season was “off to an encouraging start,” with audiences for each show up 200 percent from the network’s predecessor, Discovery Health, one year ago. But Monday’s ratings were paltry compared with the numbers that Winfrey and O’Donnell network TV daytime shows brought in. Before The Oprah Winfrey Show ended its 25-year run last May, it had a regular audience of about 6.4 million viewers in the U.S.