ROSIE O’DONNELL In Chicago at Harpo – Filming NOW

                                                                             I AM SURE YOU KNOW BY NOW,

Nearly a decade after she left her successful daily daytime show to take care of her children, O’Donnell’s “The Rosie Show” premieres Monday October 10th  on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Rosie  is  bringing her wisdom, talent and brilliant sense of humor (and don’t forget NICE!) to THE ROSIE SHOW. 

At the heart of the show is Rosie’s genuine desire to entertain, inspire and connect with America.  As a down-to-earth mother, passionate advocate for children and all-around inquisitive individual, Rosie will relate to her audience in meaningful ways-touching their hearts, sparking their minds and making them laugh.

The proud mom of four is ever funny, packed with high-energy and AUTHENTIC – a talk show with a heart – no two days of THE ROSIE SHOW will be alike. Rosie will cover current events, spotlight hometown heroes and newsmakers, showcase the arts, celebrate kids and families, as well as feature well-known and upcoming talent. All done here in Chicago at Harpo Studios.

We caught up Rosie today in between press meetings. Shows will be taped and aired the same day or within 24 hours to be relevant.

I am very excited to be here in Chicago. When we moved here in the summer, I had looked around for places and didn’t know anything about Chicago at all, although I had filmed “League of Their Own” here for a couple weeks, and I had done standup here throughout my career, mostly at the Improv, which is no longer open, in the heart of Chicago. I wasn’t really familiar with the city or where anything was or in relation to Harpo, so they put me up at a residential hotel, the Elysian, which is actually beautiful and gorgeous and lovely.

And when we figured out that my 14-year-old daughter would be living here with me and that my other children would be coming back and forth all the time, the two little ones, we realized it really wasn’t big enough and that we need outdoor space, because sitting in a hotel room with them for a four-day weekend was a little bit much.

So luckily one of the presidents of Harpo, Erik Logan, had a house for sale (in Lakeview) , and I went and looked at it, and I called him up and said “If you will leave it furnished, I mean, like down to the toilet paper and some of the nightshirts, I think we have a deal,” because it’s a beautiful place that he had just really finished renovating about two years ago, and it’s turn-key ready. And I actually move in tomorrow, so I’m thrilled about that, and I love being in a neighborhood and places that I can walk to the restaurants for dinner and not have to order room service and, you know, feel more like a home. I actually love it here and can imagine moving and living here for this next chapter of my life.”

Lucky for Chicago, Oprah grabbed Rosie when she did. Rosie had an offer on the table from NBC for a show.

“THE Oprah is sort of magical, and I was very overwhelmed at just being in her presence when she called me and said “Is it true?” And I was like “Is what true?” She’s like “That you would want to do this for me.” I’m like “Yes, ma’am.” So she flew to my house, and we had like a four-hour conversation. And at the end of the conversation, she said “Why is it that you’d rather do it for me than the network you’re about to sign with?” And I’m like “Because you’re you.” I think she doesn’t quite get the effect that she’s had on most of the country, if not the entire world.

And for me, I’m about to turn 50 in March. Half my life I’ve watched her on television, and I was one of those crazy super-fans who used to VCR it back in the old days and then put her on my Tivo, and I would watch it every night. So it was a huge thrill for me and a vote of confidence. You know, the truth is, when I was about to sign with NBC, I questioned whether or not I would be able to do it and to sort of withstand the network kind of pressure and the network mishigas that happens and happened. And right around that time the Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien fiasco had just finished, and I was not feeling very safe or secure in the network’s investment in their talent.

So when Oprah Winfrey said to me “Would you do it for me?” which had been my first desire as well– when people started calling me right after she said she was going to leave her program, I called my agent and said “Does she need someone? Because if she needs somebody for her network, I’d rather do it there.”

But agents never really care about your emotional desires. They care more about their financial bottom line. So you make a lot more money on network TV than you do on cable, but to me it wasn’t ever about the money. No part of my career was ever about money. It was always about trying to do the best job in the best place that would be most congruent with my life and my values.

And that’s definitely where I ended up, largely because I do believe in what she taught us all, that you can live your best life, and if you dream it, you can live it. And a large part of my career and my success is because of watching her and learning from her, so to be here now with her is beyond a dream come true. It’s like everybody’s– for me, it’s like winning the lottery, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. So I’m excited to get started, and I hope that I serve her and the network well.”

The Rosie Show is destined for greatness. This is just what OWN  needed. The network has gotten off to slow start but the Rosie Show is just the shot in the arm, the network needs.   O’Donnell isn’t worried about her new home on OWN. “I have tremendous faith in Oprah’s  ability to do almost anything,” she says. “When she puts her mind to anything, it gets down. People ask if I feel pressure. I feel nothing but privilege, really.” She lated added, “If you look at the launch of any cable channel, it takes three years. The people are just waiting for us to fill up the programming. Its going to be a huge hit like everything else Oprah touches.”

OPRAH  SAID, “In 25 years of doing my show, only one competitor ever seriously challenged me in the ratings: Rosie O’Donnell. From the day Rosie took her place among the crowded field of talk show hosts, I knew she had that “It” thing: She was as sharp as she was authentic, as forthright as she was funny. During six seasons of NBC’s The Rosie O’Donnell Show, she not only won 11 Emmys—she knew how to use her screen time to truly connect.”

One thing that sounds really great about the new show, is its not about quantity, but quality of guests. Rather than trying to cram in 3 guests a day for 5 minute spots,  the show will feature one guest on for several segments. 

Since I’ve been off the air, television has become saturated with celebrities. In America we’re addicted in a way that’s embarrassing. So it’s not going to be all about celebrity. It’ll be a celebration of humanity, of connection, of authenticity and love.

Because it’s on at 7, we’re going to do a hybrid between a late-night show and a daytime show. We’ll incorporate the audience. We’ll use Twitter. We’ll use Facebook. We’ve come up with a new kind of talk show that mixes the old single-topic format with fun and social media. So it will have a reality feel. We’ll have to get the kinks out, but the same way I knew the first one would work, I know this will work

Watch for a star studded opening week including a who’s who list of stars! Appearances by Salma Hyek, Lisa Kudrow, Gloria Estefan, Roseanne Barr, Sharon and Kelly Osborne, Ricky Lake, Gloria Steinem, Wanda Sykes, the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Kevin Bacon, Fran Drescher , but she still has a wish list of other stars. “Adele has throat issues but as soon as she’s up and healthy she’ll be on,” she says. “I want to have Melissa McCarthy on. Never seen anyone as funny their first time as host of ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Emma Stone… Ryan Gosling I think is an amazing actor. I have a huge wish list.”


I’m going to come out and do stand-up with a mic. I don’t really tell jokes and my stand-up was always more about stories, so I need a mic and a stand. I felt like Henny Youngman [without it]. I’ll do about ten minutes of stand up, then take questions from the audience like Carol Burnett did. So we’re gonna have a real lengthy sit down interview, not always a celebrity with something to promote. Then we have a human interest segment and we play a game at the end of every show…. This will be more fun than anyone imagined. I cheat, but it’s still fun.”

Whether it’s hilarious comedy and game segments, (Rosie LOVES The Price is Right) a live performance by a major recording artist, a celebrity visit, or a discussion of an issue important to Americans, THE ROSIE SHOW’s candid exploration of a wide variety of subjects will encourage all of us to laugh, love and live our best lives.

TICKETS  are hard to get at the moment but check the site often for updates!

* I have RCN and OWN is part of a news and information package I had to buy, for an additional $5.95 a month. But hey, it’ll be worth it!


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