The Rosie Show has been cancelled

I was disappointed to wake up this morning to find that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) cancelled The Rosie Show. OWN launched in January 2011 but has struggled to find a sizeable following. They were hoping that Rosie O’Donnell would help turn their luck around.

The Rosie Show made it’s much hyped debut in October 2011 and immediately attracted over 500,000 viewers, a sizeable number for a cable network. However within a week numbers fell below 200,000 until levelling off and averaging 230,000 a show.

Similar programs on OWN have met the same fate, including shows featuring Oprah Winfrey. For example, Oprah’s Next Chapter opened to 1 million viewers, but fell dramatically after its third episode. It’s curious then as to why OWN axed The Rosie Show.

O’Donnell had recently changed the show’s format. For the first three months The Rosie Show was filmed on the lavish stage that was once home to The Oprah Winfrey Show, but O’Donnell quickly grew tired of having to perform in front of a live audience, in part because she felt that it didn’t allow for a more natural interview with her guests. After Christmas break she introduced a new set and intimate one-on-one celebrity interviews sans audience. She cut the shows budget in half and fired 30 Harpo staff members. Viewership was growing.  And then late last night news came that the show was cancelled.

I understand that Rosie is a polarizing figure but I’ve always admired her. In a society that says overweight lesbians shouldn’t have a voice, she does, and unapologetically so. Her syndicated talk show The Rosie O’Donnell Show was a huge success, and in 2007, she helped make the The View relevant again. In 2011, after her appearance on the last season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, offers for her to return to daytime television intensified.

She was about to sign a contract with NBC, but disagreed with their treatment of Conan O’Brien, and began to inquire about joining OWN’s fledgling schedule. Oprah learned of this, and flew out to Rosie’s compound in Nyack, New York. After a four hour meeting, Rosie abandoned her deal with NBC and signed on with OWN for a reported $10 million annual salary. Initially the show was going to take the 4 p.m. time-slot made vacant by Winfrey, but the decision was made to air it at 7 p.m. The rest is history.

It’s perplexing that the show was cancelled as it was beginning to find its stride. I believe it might have had something to do with the format change, and that the executives were not informed about it. But who knows. The truth is that OWN is struggling, and even Oprah can’t save it. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen.

Below is an amazing interview that Rosie gave Piers Morgan a month ago. If you skip near the 25:30 mark she talks about her dark childhood and visiting a centre for abused children in protective custody. It’s a great example of how genuine she is, and what a generous heart she has. It’s well reported that she has given more than half of her $100 million fortune to charity.

This is why I love her.

About these ads

The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do

Fiona Apple appears to be one of those musicians who’s been locked in a shitty record deal. Her last album, Extraordinary Machine was shelved by Epic for three years because the record executives couldn’t hear a hit single on any of the tracks. Only after a letter-writing campaign orchestrated by fans, did they release the record. Even still she was forced to change producers and re-record all the songs (bootlegs of the original recordings can be found on the Internet). That was in 2005. In my humble opinion, the album is astonishing.

Music is a strange entity. I’m very interested in watching artists evolve, I’m not one of those people who listen to an album to find a catchy line or melodic hook, I’m looking to see how the musician experiments not just with music, but with their talent. I think anyone who creates needs to expand on what they have previously accomplished. Unfortunately the masses only buy music that they hear on the radio or whose music video is on heavy rotation. Musicians who have had a success feel pressure to release music that is similar to their old hits, but the good artists, the ones we’ll be talking about in twenty years, buck that trend because they make music that resonates with themselves first.

Tori Amos — whose latter career has been dominated by concept and heavy thematic albums — was once asked to respond to the critics who hoped that she would concentrate more on releasing music similar to Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink. She said, “It would be tragic, if at 48, I was still writing music about my boyfriend who dumped me. I’ve been married for 16 years!”

As an artist evolves, so does their music. They can’t be 28-year-olds forever.

Like Amos, Fiona Apple’s talent is off the charts. Funnily enough I wasn’t a big fan of her debut album Tidal. It was when she released her second album — When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows when he Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your own Hand And Remember that Depth is the Greatest of Heights and if You Ynow Where You Stand, then You Know Where to Land and if You Fall it Won’t Matter, Cause You’ll Know that You’re Right — that I first took notice. That was in 1999.

Music blogs recently announced the release her fourth album (see title of this blog post) in June. Last week she performed at SXSW where she introduced three new songs off the upcoming record.

People always ask me why I’m obsessed with artists like Apple and Amos. It perplexes them that I’m not overly concerned with the Toronto music scene. It’s a very hard thing to explain to people. First of all, I don’t listen to music to belong to a group, or to appear cool. It’s not about my image. Unfortunately in Toronto, music fans can be unfairly vicious and snobby. Having a plethora of musical knowledge is part of their identity, but I can separate what I like with who I am.

I like all types of music, but it’s true that I’m drawn to new work by trusted favourites.

Tori Amos represents pure artistic freedom to me. She doesn’t care what people think and every album (there are 12 in total now) are pieces of art. Her music, especially her lyrics, aren’t very accessible, but the music industry is blanketed with talentless, overly-marketed, and not very bright individuals who put fame and fortune before their music. In fact, they’re not terribly interested in music at all. Amos and Apple are consistent, can write music, produce music and perform music live. Forgive me, but that’s an important ingredient for me.

Fiona Apple has been caged in a really bad record deal for a long time. If music labels, who owe their livelihood to people like Apple, can’t find a way to market talent, they’ll shelve them; they have no moral qualms about doing so. Apple was 19, too young to know any better, when she signed with Epic, so hopefully when the contract is up she’ll be in a better position to explore her artistic merits.

Amos and Apple are the kind of musicians who need creativity to breathe. They push themselves over and over again to release music that is both profound and meaningful to the world around us. No they’re not going to sell millions of records, but they’re imprint on music history is undeniable.

Dark Shadows trailer

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp reunite again for this film based on the 1966-71 ABC gothic soap opera of the same name. Michelle Pfeiffer also stars as the family matriarch, the first time she and Burton have worked together since Batman Returns in 1992.