Checked the calendar this morning to see if it was April 1, and no - it's the 23rd which doesn't help to explain all these stories about a new, forthcoming, definitely-gonna-happen-maybe talk show starring one Rosie O'Donnell.
The Times' Brian Stelter reports this morning that Dick Robertson and Scott Carlin have enlisted her - or she them - for the project. Robertson and Carlin are very smart guys and best I can tell, sane, so this is real. I also see that Rory Kennedy - daughter of RFK - has been appointed executive producer. That was in the LAT this Sunday, and when I first saw the item, rubbed my eyes, went back to sleep, thinking, "this must be a strange and fevered dream..."
Rory Kennedy - who I know to be a good and thoughtful producer of documentaries of the "P.O.V" mold - as EP of a "Rosie O'Donnell" show? In the extreme off chance Rory Kennedy is reading this blog at this moment, a word of advice: Don't do it. Life is too short. You have a family. You have a career. You have a future. All will be shattered by an affiliation with Rosie; why, one day, you'll be seen aimlessly wandering the streets of Manhattan, muttering wild and uncouth imprecations against unseen enemies and villains - all strangely named "Rosie."
No, I am NOT one of those Rosie haters out there. Without getting into politics here - TVZone is strictly a no-politics zone - she has every right to express her opinions, because that IS the American way. This is about plain old pragmatic TV common sense: Rosie's days as a successful TV host are over. Forever. And forever is a long time. She had her day. That was a decade ago. Today is not her day. You cannot go home again. You cannot grab the brass ring again. You cannot restart that which was once moderately successful and assume that it will once again be moderately successful. It is written. It is the law. It is the way of the universe. The TV universe anyway.
Besides, Rosie is...what word or words can I use here in lieu of "crazy?"
..."Difficult?"..."Emotionally complicated?"... "Supremely challenging?" ..."Profoundly, irredeemably, unutterably complex?"
She's talented and very smart, sure, but has an alarming and uncanny ability to self-destruct, violently. In all years covering this strange business, I've never seen anything like it - an almost pathological need to lash out at those she works for, or works with, or is supposed to work with. Gruner + Jaher...MSNBC..."The View"...NBC...
Rosie is a lightning rod. People have opinions about her. They are often violent opinions too. She wants to take Oprah's job - or when Oprah goes over to OWN, and disappears. People have opinions about Oprah, too but those are mostly good, though not as good as they used to be (and I've noticed that people are REALLY hating her narration on "Life.")
Are you supposed to be a lightning rod when you host a talk? Normally, the answer is no, and here's the reason. The standard-issue American-based talk show is predicated on selling the various projects that the American entertainment churns out on a regular basis - books, other TV shows, music, and especially movies. If you're a lightning rod - that is, someone whom half of the viewing audience hates - then this is a guarantee that you will not sell that half of the viewing audience the movie or book or TV show that you are supposed to be selling them.
My hunch is that this talk show will never go forward. Just a hunch. Take it or leave it.
Photo credit: Associated Press