9 ‘Rosie O’Donnell Show’ Moments to Relive Before the Revival (VIDEO)
Nearly two decades after Rosie O’Donnell ended her eponymous and Emmy-winning talk show, the comedian is reviving The Rosie O’Donnell Show for a one-night revival on Sunday, March 22, to benefit the entertainment industry professionals impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Everybody who knows me knows that Broadway has been one of the brightest lights in my life since the time I was a little girl,” O’Donnell said in a statement, per Deadline. “It has also been the lifeblood of New York City for generation after generation. After all Broadway has given to the world, now—in this time of tremendous need—it’s our turn to give something back. There is no better way to support this community than via The Actors Fund. And, with a line-up like this, I dare you not to tune in.”
Included on that lineup? Matthew Broderick, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Gloria Estefan, Billy Porter, Morgan Freeman, Patti LuPone, Cynthia Erivo, and many more.
Before tuning into the revival special—which streams live at 7 p.m. on Broadway.com and on the website’s YouTube channel—scroll down to relive headline-making moments from the talk show’s original run.
1996: Donny Osmond jokes about Rosie’s weight
In a 1996 appearance on the show, Donny Osmond made a fat joke in reference to O’Donnell’s offer to be his stunt double, telling her that a helicopter couldn’t “handle that much weight.” He later returned to the show to apologize, and O’Donnell made him sing his hit song “Puppy Love” while wearing a dog costume.
1996: The show decamps to David Letterman’s set
In 1996, after a fire broke out at the show’s home base at New York City’s 30 Rockefeller Center, David Letterman offered the production his Late Show set at the Ed Sullivan Theater. “We’re honored to be doing our show on David Letterman’s set,” O’Donnell said at the time. “We will always be grateful to him for helping us out. He’s a real classy guy.”
1998: The show starts its Emmy streak
When The Rosie O’Donnell Show first won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show in 1998, The Oprah Winfrey Show had claimed the prize for nine of the previous 11 years. Rosie would win the category again every year until 2003.
1996: Ellen DeGeneres says she’s “Lebanese”
In the months before Ellen DeGeneres came out as lesbian on her self-titled sitcom, she joked about the gossip around her sexuality on Rosie, telling the host she would come out as “Lebanese.” (“Maybe I’m Lebanese!” responded O’Donnell, who publicly came out in 2002.)
1998: Madonna teaches Rosie yoga
As she stopped by the talk show to promote her album Ray of Light, Madonna taught O’Donnell some yoga basics—including Ujjayi breathing and the upward-facing dog pose—as the host complained profanely.
1999: Rosie argues with Tom Selleck about gun control
When Tom Selleck appeared on the show to plug his film The Love Letter weeks after the Columbine school shooting, he and O’Donnell got into a heated, 7-minute debate about his association with the National Rifle Association. “You can’t say, ‘I will not take responsibility for anything the NRA represents’ if you’re doing an ad for the NRA,” O’Donnell told the actor.
1999: Rosie sits down with Barbra Streisand
O’Donnell realized a dream when her idol Barbra Streisand agreed to an appearance on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and the comedian devoted the full hour to her honored guest and even rearranged her set to film Streisand’s good side.
2001: Guest hosts fill in for ailing Rosie
After O’Donnell developed a staph infection in 2001, various other celebs hosted the show in her stead, including future The View cohosts Barbara Walters and Joy Behar, as well as Meredith Vieira, whose spot O’Donnell filled on The View in 2006.
2002: Tom Cruise mows Rosie’s lawn
Tom Cruise mowed a lawn and offered a glass of lemonade in a clip for the talk show’s 2002 finale, referencing a previous interview in which O’Donnell said that her longtime “crush” on the Hollywood heartthrob wasn’t sexual. “I never once said I want him naked in a bed doing the nasty,” O’Donnell had told Diane Sawyer. “I want him to mow my lawn and get me a lemonade.”
The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Sunday, March 22, Broadway.com, 7/6c