Discovery Communications is taking no chances with the upcoming debut of Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show and new Oprah Winfrey series “Oprah’s Lifeclass” on its cable channel OWN. Monday night, Discovery Communications will simulcast both show premieres across four of its other networks — Investigation Discovery, Discovery Fit & Health, Planet Green, and multiple-child-reality-series flagship channel, TLC.
Rosie O’Donnell, whose talk show “The Rosie Show” will serve as lead-in to Oprah’s series, hopped on a conference call this week to defend OWN’s ratings performance to date, which one reporter noted, was not burning up the Nielsen charts.
According to Rosie, those ratings were to be expected, given that Oprah was being pulled in many different directions at the beginning of OWN’s launch in January while she was still in the final season of her syndicated talk show.
“]Discovery] wanted to take advantage of her being on TV on a daily basis, so they started in January. But she was in the midst of doing her final season, so she didn’t really get to focus on the network and give it her full attention,” explained Rosie. “This is her first endeavor as a full-time participant.”
Just in case, Rosie insisted it takes three years for any cable channel to be catch on. “It’s going to be a huge hit, like everything else [Oprah] touches,” she predicted on the call.
OWN, a joint venture between Oprah’s Harpo and Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, debuted Jan. 1, 2011., available in 77 million homes.
Since then, Oprah’s wrapped up her talk show, made herself CEO of the channel, and is going to be featured regularly in primetime.
“Oprah’s Lifeclass,” airing at 8 p.m. on OWN, will feature repurposed episodes of her syndicated “Oprah Winfrey Show,” with updated musings from Oprah about her favorite moments and lessons from over the years. And in case one hour with Oprah is not enough, Oprah will be hosting live online discussions each night during the premiere week on her Facebook page.
As for “The Rosie Show,” Rosie’s talk show will lead-in to Oprah every night at 7 p.m., and as she explained on the call, it will feature 10 minutes of stand-up comedy, followed by a lengthy interview with a celebrity guest, a topical segment and end by playing a game.