Rosie O’Donnell opened up about her planned Fall 2011 return to daytime talk television on this morning’s “Rosie Radio” on SIRIUS XM Radio.
The star revealed that her upcoming talk show, news of which broke over the weekend, wouldn’t be like her old program, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” which ran from 1996 to 2002 and had a big star presence. Both the old and new shows were (and, will be) produced by Telepictures Productions (Warner Bros. syndicated arm).
“It wouldn’t be like my old show where it’s celebrities promoting stuff,” she told her listeners. “It would [be] more like the radio show, where you get an hour on a topic that you like, whether it’s autism or something funny like a comedian that you love. You’d get an hour to sit and chat to one person about one thing.”
Rosie said she is looking forward to the new program, which reunites her with Warner Bros. former syndication president Dick Robertson, with whom she previously worked on her old show, and Scott Carlin, a former president of domestic distribution at HBO.
“I think that would be fun and it wouldn’t be like the old one, it would be a new one because frankly, it’s a dozen years later,” she said.
Rosie’s talk show return will occur at the same time that Oprah leaves her “The Oprah Winfrey Show” after 25 years on the air, but it could put Rosie head to head with her former “View” team.
The star revealed that she ran into Barbara Walters, her former co-panelist on “The View” (a show she left in 2007), over the weekend and the veteran television journalist reportedly asked her a number of questions about when Rosie’s new show will air.
”‘What time are you gonna be on?’” Rosie claimed Barbara asked. “I [know] that ‘The View’ wants to be on in the Oprah spot, so just for sh**s and giggles, I said, ‘Oh yeah, the Oprah spot.’… to which Barbara’s face goes slack-ish.”
Rosie, who previously said she and Barbara had repaired their frosty post-“View” relationship, hinted that things may be cool again between the two women, while recounting what happened when Judge Judy Sheindlin, who was also a part of the conversation, realized that if Rosie takes the Oprah spot, she would compete with the star for viewers.
“Judge Judy goes, ‘Then we’d be on against each other,’ and I said, ‘It’s not ‘til 2011, and by that time Judy, I’ll probably have a lawsuit and we can do it on your show and you can be the judge. It’ll be sort of like a combination thing. What do you think about that?’ and she laughs. I said, ‘It will be really fun to work with me. Just ask Barbara,’” Rosie recounted. “Barbara keeps eating her meatloaf, not looking up and I’m going, ‘C’mon Babs, smile’ and she’s like, ‘I said congratulations.’
“I think Barbara is really wanting that 4 o’clock Oprah spot on ABC,” Rosie added.
Whether Rosie and Barbara will go head to head remains to be seen, but one thing she won’t have to compete with when she returns to television is parenting time. She revealed her reason for finally saying “Yes” to another show, after years of being asked, was because her four children are all finally in school.
“Now all my kids are in school and two years from now I’ll be about to turn 50…. My son will probably already be going to apply to colleges so I’m like, why don’t we kick it around and see what happens,” she said.
One thing that probably won’t be featured on her new show, however, is Rosie’s longtime crush on Tom Cruise, which was a standard reference point on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” The star did reveal though, that for her birthday, which was Sunday (she turned 48), Tom and his wife, Katie Holmes, sent her flowers.
Rosie also commented on pictures that surfaced over the weekend showing Tom courtside at the Lakers game at Los Angeles’ Staples Center with Katie.
“He is the nicest guy, I gotta say… He is stunning,” she said. “He’s stunning to me. I think he’s like the perfect male specimen.”