OWN Cancels Rosie O’Donnell Talk Show

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

Winfrer with O'Donnell, whose OWN talk show has underperformed.

With dismal ratings on the little-watched network, Oprah Winfrey pulls the plug on O'Donnell's five-month-old talker.

OWN has pulled the plug on Rosie O’Donnell's five-month old talk show.

The daily show will tape its final episode on Tuesday, March 20 to air on Friday, March 30 in its 7 p.m. time slot. The news of its demise comes two months after the ailing network announced it had hired Shane Farley (Rachel Ray, Rosie O’Donnell Show) to replace Page Hurwitz as the show’s executive producer and would move Rosie into a significantly smaller 70-seat studio. The latter was a bid to inspire a sense of intimacy and lower costs on a series that is averaging 190,000 viewers. 

“I thank Rosie from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey. She has been an incredible partner, working to deliver the best possible show every single day,” said OWN chief Oprah Winfrey in a statement. “As I have learned in the last 15 months, a new network launch is always a challenge and ratings grow over time as you continue to gather an audience. I’m grateful to Rosie and the dedicated Rosie Show team for giving it their all.”

Added O’Donnell: “I loved working with Oprah in the amazing city of Chicago. I was welcomed with open arms and will never forget the kindness of all I encountered. It was a great year for me -- I wish the show was able to attract more viewers -- but it did not.  So I am headed back to my home in New York -- with gratitude. On we go!”

The show, often dubbed O'Donnell's second act, was designed as a break from the traditional talk show format. "It’s not going to be your average show where three celebrities come on promoting something and you’ll see them on Letterman and Regis and all those other shows," O'Donnell promised in a discussion with the press before the show's fall launch. Her goal was to provide a platform in which her subjects could talk more freely about things other than the film or TV series premiering that week.

Despite heavy hype surrounding the show, once viewed as a big "get" for cable network given O'Donnell's talk show past, it failed to catch on with viewers. In addition to location and personnel changes, the show's format has been tweaked in the hopes of goosing ratings. Among the recent changes were more one-on-one interviews and the elimination of the show's game show segment.