After almost two weeks of “Rosie” on OWN, it’s clear: Rosie will not save Oprah.
The biggest strategic mistake for “Rosie” was the decision to do the show in Chicago. Rosie told Howard Stern last week that by the time she signed on the dotted line last year, all the “good” New York City studios were spoken for, for the 2011 – 2012 season.
And I get that. A “good” / expensive New York studio is a modern space where the production staff is in the same building as the studio. It makes for seamless on-the-spot decision making and changes, as well as a more comfortable staff. There are only a handful of studios like that in New York right now. Some crappy shows are actually taped in hotel ballrooms.
Her last daytime show was filmed at the fancy pants Rockefeller Center studios. When I worked for Maury Povich we had another of those “good” studios on West 26th Street. (Then, Ricki Lake took it over and used what was formerly our 5,000 square foot office space as her child’s nursery and made her staff work across the street!)
Many New York-based daytime shows have offices a block or so away from the actual studio where the show is taped. So, like when I worked for Carnie Wilson, the production team would be seen running with files (and sometime’s guest’s new teeth) through the snow to the studio an hour before the lights went on. The Nate Berkus Show offices are across the street from CBS Studios.
But the major unforeseen problem with Chicago is that no big name guest will waste a full day of a tortuous media tour for the attention of 400,000 “Rosie” viewers during two extra long segments. Yeah, they did Chicago for Oprah, but…
Celebs, like she has had in the first few shows, just don’t cut it – Sharon Osbourne, Valerie Harper (who is unrecognizeable now thanks to plastic surgery), Cheryl Hines, Wanda Sykes, Russell Brand, Kevin Bacon with his band (??!!) and Fran Drescher.
So if the powers that be decide “Rosie” is worth saving, watch for two things: Rosie to “clean house” with the staff and fire almost everyone related to Oprah (like she did with her daytime talk show after four months on the air) and the show and production team to move to New York next year with a new set where she will sit behind a desk (viewers like desks for whatever reason).
Otherwise, watch for the show to quietly fold - if Rosie doesn’t wind up quitting - after a huge blowup Rosie-style and two unsuccessful, very expensive years. Rosie is unproduceable, meaning she won’t take advice or guidance from anyone but a select few, so the show itself won’t change drastically.
Side note: Howard Stern is watching the failure of the OWN network very closely and translating Oprah’s missteps into his own brilliant two-channel media empire on Sirius Satellite Radio. Ideally, the love of my life, Howard would like to set up his channels to have some impact without his regular presence - like Oprah desires but can’t attain. He is empowering the hosts and production teams of other shows on his Sirius channels to find compelling guests, build an audience, create buzz and become stars independent of him, etc., so he can at some point have a presence in the media he created but not have to go to work regularly.
“Howard’s not building these channels to fade away when his contract is up in four or nine years,” my source said. “He still needs to have an outlet for his point of view, but he would be happy with a live show one day a week that starts and 9 am and repeats all day. But if he loses the lawsuit he has against Sirius – which I promise you the company lawyers hope to drag out to the fourth year of his contract - he’s out and will take it all online.” Stay tuned…
And to read TheBPlot’s exclusive prediction-turned-fact about Howard’s new schedule, a year before anyone else, click here.