Rosie O’Donnell is making another foray into daytime television, joining startup cable channel OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network as host of a new one-hour program based in New York.
Set to premiere in 2011––OWN launches on Jan. 1––the chat show will be produced by O’Donnell. While details about the program’s format and schedule remain scant, the network said O’Donnell’s “fun, uplifting” new venture will be colored by her “trademark humor and down-to-earth approach.”
“Rosie is an undeniable talent who has captivated TV audiences for nearly 20 years,” Winfrey said, by way of announcing the pickup. “She’s a true original who brings her authentic voice, dynamic energy and pure passion to everything she does.”
When O’Donnell began talking up her plan to return to daytime earlier this year, it was assumed that the comedian would look to occupy the time slots Winfrey will vacate when her syndicated program goes dark next fall. At this time, those openings largely have been filled, either by Harpo Productions’ Dr. Oz or local newscasts.
O’Donnell’s show was shopped to OWN by Warner Bros. syndication veterans Dick Robertson and Scott Carlin, now of SantaBu LLC.
The OWN show marks O’Donnell’s first regular daytime gig since she left ABC’s The View in May 2007. She’d joined the program he previous fall as Meredith Viera’s replacement and almost immediately began a clash of ideologies with co-panelist Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
In January, O’Donnell appeared on Winfrey’s show and said that her on-air battle with Hasselbeck on May 23, 2007, had been something of a setup, and that The View’s producers had egged on O’Donnell to escalate the argument.
Before her fractious run on The View, O’Donnell had established herself as “The Queen of Nice.” From 1996 to 2002, the comedian hosted The Rosie O’Donnell Show, a celebration of Tickle Me Elmo, Broadway musicals, children, charity and koosh balls. In each of her six seasons, O’Donnell won the Daytime Emmy for outstanding talk show host.
In a brief statement, O’Donnell said that it was “an honor and a privilege to work with Oprah Winfrey on her network,” adding that she is “excited to be back on daytime television.”