December 2nd, 2008


Another New TV Show Killed

Rosie Live, broadcast, yes, live on NBC on Wednesday, was billed not only as O'Donnell's return to TV after her public divorce from The View, but as TV's return to the random-guest-star ways of the variety genre.

Rosie Live, featuring appearances by Alanis Morissette, Alec Baldwin, Clay Aiken, Ne-Yo and—sure, why not?—Liza Minnelli, was watched by only about 5 million, drawing a smaller audience, especially among adults 18 to 49, than even the ratings-challenged Knight Rider has averaged for NBC at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The reviews weren't any better. Declared the Hollywood Reporter: "There's nothing like a good holiday variety show and this was nothing like one."

NBC has decided there will be no more Rosie Live, pulling the plug after a single episode (which puts it in such dubious company as Heather Graham's 2006 sitcom Emily's Reasons Why Not). I'm fine with this, as I think Rosie O'Donnell's backstage reputation as a monster, back when she had her own morning talk show (which I once saw live as part of the studio audience), makes her deserving of irrelevance and obscurity.

I think this fall TV season will be looked back on as the least successful of the decade. While I believe there are some quality freshman programs (Life on Mars, True Blood), the only new show considered an actual ratings hit is The Mentalist, which I mostly enjoy but am not quite ready to call quality.

With the second half of the season starting up in January, it'll be interesting to see how many of the new mid-season replacement series stick around.