Monday’s debut episode of The Rosie Show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), brought a fresh breath of fresh air to Oprah’s new network. A decade removed from The Rosie O’Donnell Show that pitted Rosie against Oprah in daytime, Rosie returned to what many believe she does best, combining stand-up comedy with a casual sit down format.
Critics also thought the return of Rosie was a victory for the often controversial O’Donnell. According to Hollywood Reporter, Rosie slipped back into daytime with ease given her past success as a competitor of Oprah. “O’Donnell knows the formula at work in these kinds of shows,” said THR about the debut and how Oprah also recognized that O’Donnell is at her best when she’s herself.
The debut of The Rosie Show on OWN wasn’t without its flaws, however, mostly due to the live format and awkward transitions between stand-up, audience participation and first guest Russell Brand. Despite the awkwardness, The Rosie Show was personal, engaging, sincerely funny, and also heartwarming when Russell Brand visited a treatment facility for women dealing with substance abuse.
Interestingly, an audience member announced that Rosie was on his bucket list and just “had” to meet her. Rosie obliged and asked the man to join her on stage for a special moment. There is no doubt Rosie O’Donnell has a unique gift for connecting with fans.
It’s a pleasure to see Rosie O’Donnell back in fine form, away from the constraints of a talk show like The View.