Rosie O’Donnell’s live variety show deservedly tanks in the ratings

Clay Aiken on Rosie Live

Rosie O’Donnell’s foray into live variety television was unsuccessful in the ratings, and tied for the the lowest rating in its time slot on Wednesday night with just 5 million watching. Considering how boring it was, that’s not surprising. We have weekly variety shows here in Germany that are much more entertaining in a language I only partially understand. A lot of high end talent joined Rosie on stage, but you had to sit through a bunch of stupid jokes and chit chat to get to the acts. I’d be surprised if 5 million people even watched it to the end.

Opening with a lukewarm monologue in which she attributed her boobs to a Spanx girdle, (they’re really her thighs, yuk yuk!) promised not to talk politics, and joked about her family, O’Donnell was then joined on stage by Liza Minnelli for the first act. The two launched into for a cheesy rendition of “City Lights” in front of flat city scene. It was more high school musical quality than big production variety show. Rosie and Liza kicked around a little and dancers came out behind them, but it was pretty bush league for an opening act on a prime time special.

Boring, plain set design
The set design was plain without many props and only a minimal constructed backdrop. At one point there were big doors on each side of the set through with guests emerged and it all looked low budget and cheap. The musical acts did have decent stage setups, but whenever Rosie was on we were transported back to a plain-looking stage.

Alec Baldwin came on after the break and talked to Rosie for a while, joking that he had to speak into her mike and putting his head on her chest. Conan O’Brien made a cameo holding a pumpkin pie which inevitably ended up in his face.

A few cute kids from Rosie’s “No No Nanette” show tap danced and it was sweet but boring in a school production type of way. It wasn’t until nearly 20 minutes into the show that a decent act came on. The Lombard twins did an energetic tap dance that just couldn’t save this train wreck that relied too much on Rosie talking ad nauseum.

Jane Krakowski did a burlesque style strip tease to show the audience which goodies they were taking home along with plugging the sponsors. It may have thrilled the recipients but it just couldn’t translate to the home viewers and looked like a big commercial.

Clay Aiken and Rosie talk about what they have in common
Clay Aiken came on in full Spamalot costume. He joked with Rosie that they had a lot in common like a love of Broadway, stints on television competitions, and sons named Parker. They then said there was “something big” they had in common that they couldn’t remember. Rosie said “Oh I remember, we’re both Gay-briel Burne fans.” OMG that’s so funny!

Ne-Yo and his dancers performed “Something about her” on a set of lighted stairs with a decent window pane format background. It was a good performance, but it wasn’t until 30 minutes in and wasn’t enough payoff for sitting through Rosie.

After Ne-Yo Nancy Grace broke in with a stupid faux newscast. It was about how Rosie was “rewarded with a primetime variety show” after “months of bad behavior.” Rosie asked that the feed be cut, and Kathy Griffin came on dressed as Nancy Grace and argued with Rosie for a while in an annoying fake southern accent.

Harry Connick Jr. entered wearing a Santa hat about 40 minutes in. All he did was come on stage, talk to Rosie for a minute and sing a quick version of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” while standing next to her. He didn’t even sway much. I would have much rather watched a full hour of Connick singing anything.

A dance troupe named Anti-Gravity did a pretty good combination of breakdancing and live performances.

A much thinner-looking Alanis Morrissette sang one of her new songs, “Not as We.” It was a lovely song but was preceded by a super cheesy skit between Rosie dressed as a cop and a short adult woman dressed as a child, who Rosie called “little Sally.” Sally said “this skit is as dead as a Moose at a Sarah Palin picnic.” Indeed.

The concluding segment was another duet unfortunately featuring Rosie with her neighbor from Miami, Gloria Estefan. They did an original Thanksgiving song with some dancing food.

Overall Rosie just dragged down the great acts she had booked by treating the audience to crappy jokes and a lot of talk. No wonder no one watched. Rosie not only showed that she’s not ready for a return to television, she may have doomed the resurgence of the variety show that everyone has been talking about. When you can get better entertainment on a Carnival Cruise, people are just going to flip the channel.

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38 Responses to “Rosie O’Donnell’s live variety show deservedly tanks in the ratings”

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  1. Tess says:

    The key to TV’s great variety shows like the Ed Sullivan show, was a host who just got out of the way and let the guests shine.

  2. heehee says:

    Ouch- well that makes me sad. I know she has great talent and humor, I loved her original show. I especially liked John McDee LOLOL they were such a great pair up. 🙂

  3. RAN says:

    I’m sorry I missed Harry Connick Jr., but I doubt I would have sat through that mess for just a few minutes of bliss anyway.

    That’s too bad, I keep hoping this woman will be able to get some redemption (not that she did anything wrong, but people are sick of her), but she keeps shooting herself in the foot.

  4. RReedy says:

    She is such an angry, negative person that her work is tainted. I hope this changes as she IS a very funny lady. She needs to lose the hard edge of hated. It bleeds into everything she touches.

  5. Leandra says:

    It seems variety shows are not something people want anymore. I also find the banter boring and an insult to my intelligence. I used to enjoy this type of show back in the day but if I try to watch say an old Carol Burnett rerun now I practically gag on it…we get smarter with time and our tastes change.

  6. Marceline says:

    As a high school music/drama teacher, I find the comparisons to a school production rather insulting. My high school productions are far better than Rosie’s dreadful show. 🙂 My curiosity made me watch the whole thing. She had great guests. She should have let them do what they do best. What a waste of talent and time. Rosie, follow Ed’s example. Introduce the guests and get out of the way.

  7. Feebee says:

    I watched for a wee while by default (I’d been watching the preceding program) and it was bad but I watched till the Clay Aiken piece, like a train wreck you can’t take your eyes off. It was far inferior to any high school production I ever participated in and that was 20 years ago! 5 million can only have been the starting figure before a horrible dropoff.

  8. Granger says:

    I forgot it was on and only tuned in just as Harry Connick Jr made his appearance. And then I was so glad I’d missed the first 40 minutes. There was no chemistry between Rosie and Harry, and frankly, he just looked like he wanted the floor to open up and swallow him. And personally, I thought Alanis Morrisette was awful, but then I’ve never been a huge fan. I just hate how she runs all her words together. She always sounds half in the bag to me.

  9. lanette says:

    i had no plans to watch it ’cause Rosie is a miserable person and i am so sick of her always talkin about how she is gay–it’s like ok we know, next!

  10. SolitaryAngel says:

    So, no-talent Rosie sucks the life out of a show *again*. Big surprise. 🙄

  11. Mr. Sleepyhead says:

    Who is Rosie O’Donnell and what has she done? I remember a few years ago she was just another Hollywood bloviate – now she has a TV show?

    I guess I’ll return to watching the Discovery Channel.

  12. MC says:

    I miss her talk show! 🙁

  13. Ling says:

    Mr. Sleepyhead… She’s already had her own show. It was a great success. It ran for years.

  14. kate says:

    when will rosie go away? she is boring and irritating as hell.

  15. Giz says:

    Trashing former co-hosts and bosses only makes me inclined more NOT to want to watch someone’s show. It was a pathetic ploy.

  16. Shay says:

    Don’t most variety hosts that take part in the acts have to have some sort of talent? She can’t sing or dance so why is she taking part in musical acts?

  17. Sickitten says:

    Rosie is just so pretty when she’s all made up.

  18. brista says:

    Aw, I like Rosie but I knew this variety thing wouldn’t work out. I know, I know, other countries have variety show things and they’re smashing successes, but I just can’t see it flying here. We have a hard enough time getting good material and ratings with SNL.

    Variety shows are just so hokey and cheesy, no matter who hosts it. And yes, that includes the old-timey ones with Carol Burnett and Ed Sullivan.

    I heard a nasty rumor that the Osmonds (of the Donny and Marie stock, not the Sharon and Ozzy stock) were trying to get a variety show back on and some other celeb has a variety show coming out on one of the networks over the holidays.

    God save us if this variety show mess starts getting popular.

  19. Leon says:

    Her whole act is a tiresome bore. It’s always the same with Rosie. The self-depreciating joke followed by the ever-present reminder about her sexual orientation, then the Broadway bit. Snore.

  20. Cari says:

    Brista? It’s Ozzy *Osbourne*, not Ozzy Osmond!

    😆 But thanks for the laugh!

  21. Judi Diamond says:

    Okay, I’m so embarrassed now to say that I actually not only watched the show, I kinda liked it! (I’m such a dork!) It’s not that I liked Rosie (i didn’t) I just like the thought of bringing back variety shows in general. I use to watch re-runs of the Carol Burnett show and loved it…However Rosie “Ain’t No Carol Burnett!”

  22. RaraAvis says:

    Don’t understand why anyone would think that having a successful daytime talk show would translate into a successful evening variety show. Am I the only one who notices that what works in the daytime sucks at night? I agree with RReedy. Rosie is way too angry to be appealing. I never watched her daytime show – was she that angry then?

  23. Jeanne says:

    Go away Rosie, you had your time. Her personality is not suited now to be a amiable host on a variety show. Her time spent on The View changed her into an irritating, big mouth that has to inject politics into everything.

  24. vdantev says:

    Bad idea poorly executed and Ellen Degeneres did it better as a special from Las Vegas anyway.

  25. RaeJillian says:

    i had no idea this show even happened! yikes!

  26. Sadie says:

    The ship sailed years ago on variety shows (thankfully). I do like Rosie but I agree that she comes across quite often as angry and that’s the last thing anyone wants to see. I think she should stick to Broadway it suits her better.

  27. jeffy says:

    To whomever above said that Rosie should stop saying she’s gay … please be quiet. Gay people should be as loud and obnoxious about who they are as straight people are, oh, ALL THE TIME. Until we get equal rights, you can bet we’re going to talk about it.

  28. Michelle says:

    I thought it was very entertaining and I did enjoy it. I’m sure I was not the only one.. I’m surprised to hear that not too many people watched.. I’m going to assume everyone was out shopping instead..

  29. vdantev says:

    Gay people should be as loud and obnoxious about who they are as straight people are, oh, ALL THE TIME.Until we get equal rights, you can bet we’re going to talk about it.

    So bragging about who I sleep with is now a ‘right’? I can hear the founding fathers spinning in their graves. Children should be doing homework at this hour and not clogging up the internet with their pithy observations.

  30. jess says:

    She’s a defensive, hateful & jealous person. I can’t believe 5 million actually watched her.

  31. lanette says:

    straight people run around saying “i’m straight?”
    Rosie doesn’t need to keep saying she’s gay…who doesn’t know that by now?

    people didn’t watch the show because to be honest she is mean as a tied up starving pitbull. Ellen i can watch no problem and I already figured she was gay…Rosie is just plain miserable. i mean damn if she is happy being gay how come she doesn’t act happy? 🙄 😈

    honestly Rosie and Variety show in the same sentence is like water and oil..and they don’t all.

  32. Greg Goins says:

    This was as bad as it gets. It is amazing that 5 million watched. I think many were like me and had to see the great flop in the making.

  33. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person 😈

  34. Kevin says:

    Her show canceled? Is this really a surprise to anyone? This woman is so full of hate and anger it is a wonder she had 5 mil peeps watching that garbage. Good riddance I say. She should just stay at home and blog her insane thoughts as that is what she seems to do best.

  35. Emily says:

    Rosie, go away…this woman is full of hate and such a miserable person, and her sense of humor makes me sick. Nobody wants to see her show, she is such a disgrace…Disgusting…

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