Rosie O’Donnell taking over Oprah Winfrey’s studio

Rosie O’Donnell is returning to TV this fall with a new talker for OWN, the cable net owned by Oprah Winfrey. On Monday, she revealed the show will take over the Chicago studio space soon to be vacated by Winfrey as her signature show ends its quarter-century run.

O’Donnell, who is an inveterate blogger, made the announcement via video.  She said, “It’s me, Rosie O’Donnell, star of ‘The Flintstones’! I just wanted to say, ‘Hi, I’m coming to Chicago.’ Yes, I am, and I’m thrilled about it. Thank you, Oprah. And thank all you people there. Some of you are going to be sticking around and helping us make a kick-ass show for the Oprah Winfrey Network.”

The new show, which will be issue-oriented, will differ in tone from Rosie’s original daytime series. That self-titled talker dominated the Daytime Emmy Awards during a six-year run that began in 1996. Rosie’s gabfest won Best Talk Show five years in a row (1998-2002) and she took home the Best Host award for all six years of the show’s run (1997-2002). Her initial victories were especially impressive because Oprah hadn’t bowed out of the Emmys yet. In 1998, Rosie beat Oprah for best talk show and they tied for the hosting trophy. Oprah dropped out of the host race in 1999 and the show race the following year.

A year after Rosie signed off in 2002, Ellen DeGeneres began her own show, and this new queen of nice now reigns over the TV kudos. However, with Rosie’s return, we could soon see a repeat of the smackdown that dominated the Daytime Emmys in the late 1990s.

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