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Oprah’s Out, Rosie’s In: O’Donnell’s Big 2011 Daytime Return

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When Oprah exits daytime television in the fall of 2011, the reigns of TV talk were supposed to go to Ellen DeGeneres. Oprah even set the torch passing in motion herself. And then along comes Rosie O’Donnell, planning a grand return to TV — and not in that awful variety format.

Reports from Showbiz411 (“Rosie was overheard telling pals at Joe Allen’s restaurant in New York last night that deal is almost done to restore her to her place as Queen of DaytimeTalk”) and GossipCop (“Rosie O’Donnell has signed a deal to bring a new talk show to TV syndication for the 2011-2012 season, Gossip Cop has learned exclusively”) say that as soon as Oprah is done, Rosie will be stepping in.

Does Ellen have reason to worry? Yes, in the sense that Rosie’s show would be direct competition, as any daytime show is, but as yet it’s entirely unclear what time slots, and which networks Rosie would occupy in each market. And also, No: The reports state her new show will be geared more toward replicating her current Sirius radio show, but on the small screen, much like Howard Stern’s program. It’s a much less formal structure, and could attract different audience types.

In exiting her eponymous talk show, which ran from 1996 through 2002, Rosie said she left to to spend more time with her kids. And in interviews since, she’s reiterated that facet: Family first, business second (or maybe sixth).

We’re just happy to see the return of one of the most advertiser-friendly brands out there make a return to daytime. And now that she’s no longer carrying the “queen of nice” mantle, she’ll be free to run clips of that day’s The View and give Elisabeth Hasselbeck a walloping. That, or invite Tom Cruise on the program to rekindle their fauxmance.