Rosie's new set is a step in the right direction
I’m so glad Rosie O’Donnell was a guest on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live last week. Apparently the visit was just the inspiration she needed to revamp her struggling (Feder predicts it’ll be off the air by the end of the year) OWN talk show.
When Rosie returned to Chicago’s Harpo Studios yesterday after a three-week holiday vacation, she debuted a new set for The Rosie Show. Drawing inspiration from Bravo’s Clubhouse, the new scaled-back set looks like a colorful craft room with Rosie’s abstract paintings hanging in the background. As Rosie said on the show, she was pretty much using Oprah’s old set and she didn’t need all the space. (“It was like a comic playing Caesar’s Palace, and I’m used to playing Vinnie’s Yuk Yuk Hut,” she said.)
I attended a taping of The Rosie Show last month, and I agree that the original set was too big. The stage was huge and Rosie didn’t really seem like herself in that environment. The best parts of the taping were during the commercial breaks when she casually chatted with the audience and answered questions. (That was the day news broke about her engagement—why didn't I think to tweet about that???) Apparently, the OWN people liked the vibe during the commercial breaks as well. In addition to the smaller set that now fits about 70 audience members, the network also decided to live stream the taping of yesterday’s show (which was taped about three hours before it aired). It’s fun to watch behind the scenes and what happens during the break, especially when someone like Real Housewife NeNe Leakes is sitting in the guest chair. I’m not sure if they’re planning to live stream the tapings everyday, but I hope it happens more often than not.
Good for Rosie and her team for making such a dramatic change to the show instead of staying on a course that’s not going so great. I’ve also attended a taping of Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happen Live (Rosie wasn’t kidding when she said that show is taped in a closet. There are about nine people in the audience; I sat right next to the camera man) and she’s smart to try to capture that kind of vibe. Being at Watch What Happens Live feels like you’re at a party (the open bar definitely helps) and I’d like to see Rosie keep her party going here in Chicago as long as possible.