Oprah turns out the lights, but Rosie parties on
Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah Winfrey
Robservations from a busy weekend on the media beat:
- Anyone who was surprised by the cancellation of The Rosie Show hasn’t been paying attention. It was doomed from the start, as Oprah Winfrey herself should have known. After six painful months, Oprah Winfrey Network finally pulled the plug Friday on the Rosie O’Donnell debacle, marking the latest setback for the struggling cable venture. The end of the show was announced to staff members — without warning — at a pre-St. Patrick's Day office party. Because the place was already in such a shambles, many staffers boycotted the party Friday after work and weren't even present to find out that they were toast. Sources said O'Donnell still plans to tape Rosie’s 50th Celebrity Birthday Bash Monday on the rooftop of the Paris Club. Although no one on her staff is much in the mood for a celebration, those who suggested canceling the party were told it would be “bad for Rosie’s PR . . . and she's in a good place right now.” For more on what went wrong with the show, read Ramin Setoodeh’s masterful dissection from The Daily Beast.
- Viewers who tuned in Saturday or Sunday to Fox News Channel to see Mancow Muller were disappointed. Despite the Chicago-based radio personality’s announcement here (and in a subsequent press release), Mancow TV did not air as promised. Nevertheless, Muller said he taped a one-hour special before a studio audience in New York Saturday afternoon, declaring the effort “a great success.” Topics ranged from “drone spy planes over America” to “Hollywood hypocrites.” A second Mancow TV special will be taped this Saturday, he said. No airdate has been set for that one, either.
- Dan Ponce, a reporter for WGN, and Donte Williams, a news photographer for NBC 5, were handcuffed and detained by Chicago police for, um, standing on a median in the middle of the street across from Mt. Sinai Hospital while covering the shooting death of a 6-year-old girl Saturday. "Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you're creating a scene or whatever," the officer who handcuffed them was recorded as saying. Both were released without charges — and without an apology from the Chicago Police Department. “This careless disregard for reporters' rights is a violation of our deeply engrained concepts of freedoms, beginning with the First Amendment,” the Chicago Headline Club said in a statement Sunday. “Yet is also a troubling message to all about the lack of respect for all of our freedoms from those charged with upholding our laws.”
- Staffers at Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5) — the birthplace of This American Life — were among the first to react Friday to news that Ira Glass had retracted an episode of his weekly show. An investigation turned up “numerous fabrications” in Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory, a segment based on monologist Mike Daisey’s one-man show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. “Naturally, our principles and standards are our currency, and for some, this situation may call those into question,” Torey Malatia, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, told employees in a memo. “I can assure you we all have learned valuable lessons as a result of this incident that have immediately reinforced our processes and procedures going forward.”
- Chicago broadcast legend Roy Leonard delivered a touching eulogy to his beloved Sheila at a funeral mass in Winnetka Saturday, remembering that she inspired him to become a Catholic. His wife of 58 years and mother of their six sons died last week at 85 after battling dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Son Kelly Leonard, executive vice president of The Second City, also spoke of her kindness and devotion to family. Among the mourners were Tom Skilling, Roger Triesmstra, Steve Bertrand, Kathy O'Malley, Chris Jones, Peter Marino, Nina Newhouser, Lori Brayer, Bruce DuMont, Dann Gire and Larry Dieckhaus.