O Donnell Show
Is this her final answer? Sources say Rosie ("I'm leaving and I'm not kidding") O'Donnell is Looking to the possible syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? When and if O'Donnell gives up her Warner Bros. talk show. Rosie is a a huge Millionaire fan and would arguably be a good fit for stripped version of Millionaire, a project still in the speculation phase for Buena Vista Television.
An O'Donnell spokesperson admits only that she has had conversations about doing another TV show with Millionaire executive producer Michael Davies. Rosie regularly talks about leaving her day-time chat show when the contract expires after 2002, and insiders say a syndicated Millionaire would debut a earlier than that. Buena Vista would not comment
in the making - Suessical
Shortly after the dismally unentertaining musical Seussical opened on Broadway last winter, the ubiquitous talk show host and would-be actress Rosie O'Donnell announced that she would be temporarily taking over the lead role in the play. The $10.5 million show, a haphazard pastiche of various famous Dr. Seuss stories, had been savaged by critics when it debuted in late November.
At the time, the consensus seemed to be that the story was somewhat pointless, the score undistinguished, and the acting not quite up to par. Much of the criticism was directed at the star, the gifted but completely miscast David Shiner, a professional clown and alumnus of the renowned Cirque du Soleil. Though a gamer, Shiner was saddled with a complete inability to act, sing, or dance. That combination would sink any Broadway production.
For obvious reasons, O'Donnell's decision to step into the breach was greeted with glee by the play's embattled producers. Seussical ticket sales immediately exploded; the New York Times reported that O'Donnell's presence in the role of the Cat in the Hat could triple the show's daily take. Meanwhile, Shiner took a much-needed vacation in Europe.
It is a measure of O'Donnell's impact as a cultural monolith that her intervention in a crisis such as this should reap immediate financial rewards for the various participants. For years, O'Donnell has been a champion of shallow, critically maligned, middlebrow entertainment, and what she lacks in sophistication and taste she more than makes up for with pluck. What she's demonstrated is that she can not only move a market, but almost single-handedly sell the public a product it did not previously want.