Rosie O’Donnell has been no stranger to talk show success in the past, but her new The Rosie Show debuted on Oprah Winfrey Network Monday with a totally fresh approach to talk and a thumbs up from most critics.
O’Donnell’s NBC talk show was a hit for years and her time on The View was controversial and calculated, but The Rosie Show exists outside the regular programming box from start to finish. And while it may take some getting used to, critics are finding her live, crazy formula fun.
"…When she signed on with Oprah to get back in the game with her own show on Oprah’s OWN, there must have been a part of her that knew she could do something vastly different, perhaps even fresher," writes Tim Goodman in The Hollywood Reporter. “I can only hope she doesn’t let anyone tamper with it. Because it’s a little crazy… something of an oddity in that it looks haphazard and thrown together (though it’s not, despite being live on the East Coast). It looks – and in the tightly packaged world of talk shows, this is a crime – like a lot of fun," he added.
And while some critics found her freestyle energy a bit off-putting and unfinished, most agree The Rosie Show will be a much-needed boost for Winfrey’s cable network.
Linda Stasi of the New York Post notes, "Oprah gave her a second chance to save her career. And, ironically, if last night was any indication, Rosie might be the one who helps Oprah do the same for her struggling network." And while Stassi warns Rosie-haters won’t find any redeeming value in the series, she declares: “I, for one, am tired of the same middle-aged smug men and 30-something skinny women who think that saying four-letter words means they’re hilarious dominating talk shows. When Rosie’s on, she actually is hilarious. Welcome back."
The Boston Globe’s Sarah Rodman agrees that, "O’Donnell pretty much did all of the things for which her original show was known minus the Koosh balls… Winfrey had said that she wanted O’Donnell to be herself, and her new hire lived up to that expectation with perfectly familiar results,” she concludes.
Did you watch The Rosie Show debut?