The Rosie O'Donnell Show: Wikis


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The Rosie O'Donnell Show
Logo of The Rosie O'Donnell Show.
Format Talk show
Presented by Rosie O'Donnell
Starring John McDaniel
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 1,193
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel NBC
Original run June 10, 1996 – June 27, 2002

The Rosie O'Donnell Show was an American daytime television talk show hosted and produced by actress and comedian Rosie O'Donnell. It aired for six seasons from 1996 to 2002. Topics often discussed on the show were: Broadway, children, extended families and charitable works, people and organizations.

The show was based out of Studio 8G at NBC's Rockefeller Center studios and was produced and syndicated by KidRo Productions, Telepictures Productions and Warner Bros. Television.


The show

On June 10, 1996, The Rosie O'Donnell Show premiered, and proved successful; early on O'Donnell was dubbed "The Queen of Nice" by Newsweek magazine for her sweet personality which was a stark contrast to many other talk shows of the era.

The show was also known for featuring extended production numbers from Broadway shows which were often seen as too time consuming on other shows. In some ways, The Rosie O'Donnell Show did for Broadway what Oprah Winfrey did for books. O'Donnell was known for keeping a light-hearted nature during the show as she playfully interviewed her guests and interacted with her audience. Commonly O'Donnell would throw koosh balls into the audience throughout the show; this gag expanded through the years to include automated koosh-projecting devices in the ceiling, as well as O'Donnell firing at a moving target.

The house band was led by pianist John McDaniel, and was dubbed "The McDLTs".

Unique introductions by a member of the audience were made at the beginning of each episode. (Hi! I'm ____, from ___,__; and this is The Rosie O'Donnell Show. On today's show: ___,___.___. Hit it John!!) O'Donnell commented on the DVD release of first season highlights that producers weren't keen on this idea, but Rosie insisted upon it as she enjoyed being able to talk to a "real person" every show. The show won multiple Emmys during its run.

O'Donnell's endorsement of the Tickle Me Elmo played a large part in the huge popularity of the toy. In 2006, O'Donnell showed Tickle Me Elmo Extreme (TMX) on The View. Likewise when she served Drake's snack cakes to audience members on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, which helped contribute to increased sales of Drake's cakes.

After a 6-year run, the show ended in 2002 when Rosie chose to leave to become a full-time mom.


Kids Are Punny

A long-running segment of the show involved telling jokes that children from around the United States mailed into the studio. These jokes were eventually compiled into two books (and eventually a TV special) entitled Kids Are Punny; proceeds from the book went to children's charity programs.

Shows at the Ed Sullivan Theater

In October 1996, a fire broke out at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. As a result, the show resumed taping in the Ed Sullivan Theater (where David Letterman tapes his show) for four days. The first episode taped back in the normal studios featured a beginning scene reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, in which Rosie awakes from a dream.

Barbra Streisand interviews

O'Donnell often spoke of her admiration for Barbra Streisand and in November 1997 Streisand, who rarely does interviews, agreed to a full hour special. The set was covered in flowers and Streisand memorabilia. Her husband, actor James Brolin, was also interviewed. Prior to this interview O'Donnell received a brief letter from Streisand which she discussed on-air and held up very briefly. She described Streisand as being very caring in the letter, but that she wouldn't read it on-air. It was too late, however, as a TV camera caught a shot of the letter, albeit brief, and within days viewers printed its contents. O'Donnell later expressed dismay that viewers would do that. She was interviewed again in 1999 at Streisand's home, shortly before her Timeless tour.

The Tom Selleck incident

On May 19, 1999, a month after the Columbine shootings, which prompted O'Donnell to become an outspoken supporter of gun control and a major figure in the Million Mom March, O'Donnell interviewed actor Tom Selleck, who was promoting a film The Love Letter. After a commercial break, O'Donnell confronted him about his recent commercial for the NRA and challenged him about the NRA's position on the use of assault rifles. According to Selleck, the two had agreed not to discuss the topic prior to his appearance on the show.[1] O'Donnell maintains that Selleck and his publicist had been informed that the topic would be discussed. She later stated the interview had "not gone the way I had hoped it had gone. But, I would like to thank you for appearing anyway, knowing that we have differing views. I was happy that you decided to come on the show. And if you feel insulted by my questions, I apologize, because it was not a personal attack. I was meant to bring up the subject as it is in the consciousness of so many today."[2][3]

Guest hosts

In April 2001, Rosie had a two-week absence from her show because of a staph infection. She had guest hosts take her place, including Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Barbara Walters, Kathy Griffin, Marie Osmond, Kathie Lee Gifford, Ana Gasteyer and Caroline Rhea.

Throughout the final season, O'Donnell called on Caroline Rhea to host the program every Friday. Her growing popularity as a guest host gave her the green light to host her own daytime talk show the following year, supposedly succeeding O'Donnell. However, Rhea's program lasted for only one season.


The final live episode aired on May 22, 2002. It featured an opening which was a salute from Broadway, featuring Vanessa Williams and John Lithgow (who were both appearing on Broadway at the time). The guests were Nathan Lane and Christine Ebersole. The final segment of the show featured a video made by Rosie that blended her personal life with her talk show life, to the song "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell. The conclusion of the show featured Tom Cruise, who cut Rosie's grass and said, "Rosie, I cut your grass, and here is your lemonade." (A reference to one of the show's running gags, that O'Donnell adored Tom Cruise). Remaining new episodes continued to air until June 27, the last with guest host Caroline Rhea. Repeats aired until August 30 (which was a repeat of May 20).


A compilation of highlights of the show's first season was available for sale in September 2008, exclusively from the Home Shopping Network. The DVD runs 90 minutes and contains Rosie O'Donnell commenting while watching clips of archived footage. Included are Tom Cruise's first visit, Fran Drescher's parents reviewing Florida restaurants, and the incident in which Donny Osmond made a fat joke at Rosie's expense.


External links

Season-by-Season breakdown


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