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Rosie O'Donnell's Talk Show Gets New Producer, New Look

Rosie O'Donnell & Oprah Winfrey
Kristin Murphy/Getty Images
Rosie O'Donnell with OWN chief Oprah Winfrey

O'Donnell is taking a page from Andy Cohen's Bravo series as she looks to put her little watched OWN talk show on the map.

On the air for just three months, and already Rosie O’Donnell’s ratings-challenged OWN show is getting a makeover.

The struggling cable network announced Wednesday that it had hired Emmy-winning producer and former O'Donnell collaborator Shane Farley (Rachel Ray, Rosie O’Donnell Show) to replace Page Hurwitz as executive producer of The Rosie Show. What’s more, the Chicago-based talk show is moving into a significantly smaller 70-seat studio, a bid to inspire a sense of intimacy and lower costs on a series that now averages just more than 200,000 viewers. The new space will feature O’Donnell’s own art and photos and is said to be inspired by her home art studio in New York.

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“I was a guest on Andy Cohen’s show Watch What Happens Live recently and I loved the homey feel of his set and the intimacy of his smaller audience,” O’Donnell said of Cohen’s space, a key ingredient to the success of his low-budget late-night series on Bravo. “I wanted to re-create that laid-back feeling, less about performing for a huge audience and more about having a one-on-one conversation.”

Added Farley, ““I was fortunate to work with Rosie on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with her again in this new capacity… she is genuinely the funniest person I know and what’s even better, she thinks like a producer, which is why I’m looking forward to working with her on her OWN show.” 

The set will no longer have space for a band, though musical director Katreese Barnes will continue to create original music from behind the scenes. Another piece of the new look designed to draw viewers to the fledgling network: a growing social media presence that will have the veteran host continue to live Tweet and Facebook during the show.

Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose