Inside Rosie's 'Hellhole' OWN Show

O'Donnell, Oprah Winfrey Network both to blame for failure: Daily Beast

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2012 10:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – Oprah Winfrey herself made the call to cancel Rosie O'Donnell's talk show on OWN, Ramin Setoodeh reveals in an extensive Daily Beast piece that goes behind the scenes. Setoodeh talked to staffers on the show and discovered problems on both sides: O'Donnell was a less-than-easygoing boss ("It was such a fucking hellhole," says one former staffer), but the network also didn't make it easy for her. The show started its short-lived six-month run as a critically praised comedy hour, but ratings were weak, and it eventually devolved into a canned interview program with no live audience.

Contributing to the show's failure: a bad time slot, 74 different lead-ins, C-list guests due to the show's location in Chicago, massive staff turnover, and O'Donnell's own confusion over what her show was supposed to be. But Rosie also contributed to the issues, staffers say, often losing her temper; she once yelled at a publicist backstage and in another incident she scolded a director in front of the audience. She also clashed with multiple staffers including her bandleader, whom she expected to be able to play Broadway songs with no advance notice. Meanwhile, one person is predictably happy about the show's cancelation: Donald Trump, who gleefully told Fox News this morning that "Rosie fails at everything," Mediaite reports.

In this Oct. 10, 2011 file image released by Harpo, Inc., Oprah Winfrey, right, is shown with host Rosie O'Donnell during the debut of "The Rosie Show," in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Harpo, Inc., George Burns/file)
Rosie O'Donnell talks to the audience during a taping of her show in Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. "The Rosie Show" premiered Monday, Oct. 10 on OWN.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
In this April 13, 2008 file photo, comedian Rosie O'Donnell arrives at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars" special.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, file)
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Donald Trump gloats.   (Mediaite)

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