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O’Donnell continues to downsize, tweak ‘The Rosie Show’ on OWN

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune –

The downsizing of “The Rosie Show” is picking up steam.   After moving from a 260-seat studio to a 70-seat studio in mid-January, the show has eliminated the audience completely, executives confirmed Thursday.

Speaking to her television audience on last Friday’s broadcast, O’Donnell explained the rapidly evolving decision to go with one-on-one interviews from a new, smaller set.

“I loved doing the other show with the audience but truthfully, I’m 49 years old,” O’Donnell said.  “It doesn’t feel real for who I am today.  I don’t want to perform or present … I just want to talk.”

The total elimination of the studio audience was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.

The show, taped at Harpo Studios in Chicago, has been struggling to find an audience since it premiered in October to some 500,000 viewers.  The show now  averages just over 200,000 viewers for OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s ratings-challenged cable network.

Trying to fill the void left when Winfrey ended her 25-year run in Chicago last May,  O’Donnell started out on the same expansive stage as her Harpo predecessor.  She moved to a more intimate set on January 17, cutting the studio audience from 260 to 70, while trimming the staff by an undisclosed number.  That arrangement lasted less than a week, with her final show in front of an audience taped on January 23, according to Harpo executives.

While the elimination of a studio audience may disappoint some, O’Donnell told her viewers the colorful set, which is filled with toys,  plush chairs, a glass desk and a Rubik’s Cube end table, is a more comfortable fit for her.

“I really like it,” O’Donnell said.  “It’s much better for me.”

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