Rosie O’Donnell hopped on a conference call Wednesday to plug her new talk show on OWN, and sing the praises of her boss, Oprah Winfrey. That also meant defending Oprah when one reporter suggested that OWN had gotten off to a very slow ratings start since its launch at the beginning of the year.
“[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, whose show debuts Monday. “This is her first endeavor as a full-time participant, and I think everyone is going to be pleasantly satisfied with the amount of success that this network is going to turn into.”
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,” Rosie predicted on the call.
As for Rosie’s show, she’s going to have 10 minutes of stand-up, followed by guest interviews and games at the end of every program, she told the press.
When asked about mistakes she learned from her syndicated talk show, which ran from 1996-2002, Rosie cited her extremely heated 1999 interview with Tom Selleck about gun control (she criticized him on air for supporting the National Rifle Association, he at one point responded, “I think you’re being stupid.”)
“I think that probably in hindsight if I had to re-do the Tom Selleck interview I would do it differently,” Rosie said, adding that she was in an emotional place because the interview took place soon after the Columbine shootings. “It was the first time that I had been in what I perceived to be a position of power, which I thought came with fame, which I was really disillusioned to find out it didn’t. I thought I could affect some sort of change.”
Will she invite Selleck to her new show? Turns out, she already has.
“We have asked him, but I don’t know that he’s interested, and I truly don’t blame him,” Rosie said.