Rosie Live DOA, Rosie Says

Comic concedes bad ratings, bad reviews means variety special won't become variety series

By Joal Ryan Nov 29, 2008 9:00 PMTags
Rosie O'Donnell, Harry Connick Jr.Virginia Sherwood/NBC

A TV buff like Rosie O'Donnell knows the Nielsen score: Rosie Live ain't living on.

On her website Friday, O'Donnell wrote, in her usual undercase, shorthand style, that "there will b no more" variety specials.

Rosie Live, broadcast, yes, live on NBC on Wednesday, was billed not only as O'Donnell's return to TV after her public divorce from The View, but as TV's return to the random-guest-star ways of the variety genre.

You know the line about how you can't go home again to The Carol Burnett Show…?

Rosie Live, featuring appearances by Alanis Morissette, Alec Baldwin, Clay Aiken, Ne-Yo and—sure, why not?—Liza Minnelli, was watched by only about 5 million, drawing a smaller audience, especially among adults 18 to 49, than even the ratings-challenged Knight Rider has averaged for NBC at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The reviews weren't any better. Declared the Hollywood Reporter: "There's nothing like a good holiday variety show and this was nothing like one."

At least its star had a good time. Wrote O'Donnell: "no ratings/bad reviews/yet still—a thrill 4 me."

(Originally published Nov. 29, 2008 at 6 a.m. PT.)